Labour Council fails Local Businesses

Labour H&F Council is failing to provide much-needed help for local businesses by not passing on the Government’s new Business Rates discounts, announced at the Budget in March.

Unlike neighbouring Conservative-run councils, including the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Wandsworth, and Westminster, which are helping to reduce the impact of business rate increases in 2017/18 by delivering all of the Chancellor’s budget measures, Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham is not passing on two of the three discounts to local businesses.

RBKC’s 2017/18 Local Discretionary Business Rate Relief Scheme began to pay out in August, and so far 331 applications have been received, with £412,000 awarded. RBKC has also provided £83,000 of Supporting Small Business Rate Relief to 89 businesses facing rates rises in 2017/18.

In addition to helping with these two rebates, RBKC is also providing assistance via Pub Relief to 18 local pubs, each of which is getting a £1,000 discount for 2017/18.

Commenting on the difference in support being offered by the two local Councils, Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham, Greg Hands, said: “It’s great to see that the Conservative-run Kensington & Chelsea Council is passing on these three Business Rates discounts to local businesses, but it’s a shame that their neighbours in Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham won’t benefit from the full package of support.

“Kensington & Chelsea has provided £500,000 in reliefs just since August, yet Stephen Cowan and Hammersmith & Fulham Council are asleep at the wheel.

“When local businesses are facing competition from chains and online shopping, and some have felt a degree of trepidation when faced with changes to Business Rates, it’s ludicrous that Labour H&F haven’t provided every possible means of support to local businesses, and a further sign of their disconnect from financial reality and fiscal responsibility.”

The list of Councils offering Business Rates discounts can be found here.