BUSINESS owners across Cornwall have welcomed a business rate rebate of up to £1,000.
In Cornwall 3,877 businesses have been identified as being eligible for the scheme with around £3,383,128 of business rate rebates set to be confirmed.
Cornwall Council has taken up the government’s offer, which gives local authorities the option of providing rate relief of up to £1,000 to all retail properties with a value of £50,000 or less for both 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Richard Parish, of David Parish Menswear in Launceston, which is one of the small businesses set to benefit from the rebate scheme. He said: "This rebate is, of course, very welcome but we need to see a complete overhaul of the business rating system if high street retailers are to have any chance of survival and if new businesses are to be encouraged to set up and to flourish.
“We, along with other Cornish small businesses, have really suffered in the recession yet we are still expected to pay the high business rates set during more buoyant economic times.
“In addition, the growth in online shopping coupled with the proliferation of out of town retail outlets has created additional challenges for traditional high streets.
“The current system of business rates, which has been around since 1990 and so does not take into account the changes in the way in which customers now shop, needs to changed.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for shared services Adam Paynter said: “Cornwall Council is using its discretionary relief powers to help as many businesses in Cornwall as possible.
“This means that many retail premises can save up to £1,000 on their Business Rates bill.
“We have worked hard to identify those businesses eligible for this rebate but if any business feels that they are eligible and the rebate hasn’t been applied, I urge them to contact us as soon as possible.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for the economy Julian German said: “In these difficult economic times any financial help that we can give to businesses is important, therefore I am delighted that Cornwall Council is providing this concession to all our retailers with a rateable value of £50,000 or less.”
Alex Folkes, cabinet member for finance and resources said: “Our commitment is to support our town centre shops and businesses.
“That's why we have cut season ticket prices and reduced a range of other car park charges across Cornwall.
“We are grateful to the government for agreeing to underwrite the costs of this scheme and I hope it will help to keep Cornwall's town centres vibrant and attractive to local residents and visitors alike.”