Small and independent businesses in Hyndburn hit by a huge hike in their business rates are set to share in a six-figure council relief scheme.
Hyndburn council said 28 per cent of all businesses across the borough have seen an increase in their national non-domestic rates (NNDR) since a new valuation list was drawn up in April 2017.
Affected businesses have seen their rates rise by an average of 29 per cent, with 30 firms seeing their rates at least double.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said they now have £156,000 over the next four years to help businesses adjust to the new rates.
Speaking at the recent Hyndburn full council meeting, he said: “Generally across England, except for London, business rate assessments have fallen.
“Here in Hyndburn the average position is a 9.3 per cent reduction.
“However, within the average picture there are some businesses that have seen their business rates increase.
“The goverment has made available £300m across all the local government to allow local councils to have the opportunity to provide additional, discretionary relief for up to four years.
“The government said that it expected local councils to target that money at those businesses that had suffered the most of the increase in rates and businesses operating smaller value properties.”
A consultation was carried out with business owners over the summer, generating 85 responses.
Of those, 84 per cent ‘agreed or strongly agreed’ with allocating the funding to small and medium businesses and independents.
Under the scheme, certain sectors will be excluded from relief funding, including financial, professional and medical services, post office sorting offices, estate agents, letting agents and car showrooms. The funding will be tapered over the next four years.
Coun Parkinson added: “The council will quickly enact the proposals and much needed relief will be provided to small and medium size businesses across the community.”
The new business rate valuation was implemented nationally to bring values in line with property market changes.
The last valuation list was published in 2010.
The £156,000 is part of a national £300 million pot for local authorities.