Running your own business is hard enough. But for many owners of small enterprises, it’s been made even harder with the delay in getting business rates relief. It means that thousands of entrepreneurs have been left to fork out for bills that they can ill afford whilst they wait for help.

Business rates are paid by the majority of businesses such as shops, offices, pubs and even warehouses. How much you pay, is based on a formula using the market value of the premises (known as the ‘rateable value’) and something called the ‘multiplier’.

Rates are revalued every five years and the last set of changes took place in April 2017. As part of the review, the government promised to set aside £435 million to help small businesses that would be most affected by increased rates.

As the cynical amongst us will know, promises are all well and good – but what happens when those promises aren’t fulfilled or when timescales haven’t been put in place? Sadly, that’s the scenario that hard working business owners have found themselves dealing with, as the promised money to help pay the revised business rates, has failed to be distributed.

So – what’s the hold up? Ultimately, it looks like a bit of good old fashioned miscommunication that’s caused the delay. When the government announced the General Election, various reports suggested that rates relief would only start once the new government came into power – leaving business owners to cover increases themselves in the meantime.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that there would be no delay and local councils are able to access the pot of business rates relief money and can start helping the businesses that need it the most.

Local councils were saying they needed more guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and confirmation that they could offer rate relief and adjust bills accordingly. After all, they argued, they needed to be confident that they were going to get the money back if the discounts were applied.

It’s a huge relief (financially and emotionally) for the approximately 25,000 small businesses that lost all or some of their rates relief under the new rules. And although aid has been slow in coming, it looks like it’s finally on its way.

Of course, business rates are just a small part of owning your own business and there’s a whole host of other admin jobs you need to sort out – like your insurance. We get that insurance isn’t the most exciting thing on your ‘to-do’ list – but, like your tax return, it should count as a necessity.

So, don’t wait to be caught out – it’s your business, so make sure it’s protected and comparethemarket.com for business insurance that’ll keep you covered.

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