To qualify, the business property must have a rateable value of no more than £50,000 and must be used mainly for providing retail goods or services to the public.
The discount, being offered by Bedford Borough Council, is available to all businesses that meet criteria set by the government. This includes most small retail businesses such as shops (including charity shops), restaurants, takeaways, cafés and pubs.
The extra discount is on top of other help with rates bills such as small business rate relief and charity rate relief. The amount awarded is worked out on a daily basis up to a maximum of £1,000 for the year.
If the business’ bill for the year is already less than £1,000, the bill can be reduced to zero.
Applications can be backdated to April 1 this year or to the date the businesses first became the ratepayers where this was more recent.
Due to the government criteria, the discount is not available to businesses offering financial or professional services this includes banks and building societies, payday loans and pawn brokers.
Also businesses that are not easily accessible to the public will not qualify.
However, businesses that do not qualify could still be entitled to small business rate relief. Just some examples of those that can apply include:
- Petrol stations
- Garden centres
- Travel agents
- Coffee shops.
Cllr Shan Hunt, portfolio holder for revenues and benefits, at Bedford Borough Council, said: “This new discount is a welcome boost for small retailers. We have made it as simple as possible to apply, so don’t miss out."
Business can apply quickly and easily on-line at www.bedford.gov.uk/1000off where there is also further information about which businesses are eligible.