Rates dilemma

Forbes facing new decision on small firms funding

Kate Forbes, SNP digital minister

Kate Forbes: pressure to match new grant (pic: Terry Murden)

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is under new pressure to match the latest funding support for small firms announced by the UK government.

Small firms which do not pay business rates, such as those operating in shared spaces, will benefit from a new fund announced by UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

Mr Sharma and Westminster minister for regional growth and local government, Simon Clarke, told local authorities in England yesterday that £617 million would be made available.

This additional fund will include small businesses which do not have an individual business rates assessment and pay an ongoing fixed service charge which covers all costs, including rent and rates.

In a statement issued today, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

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