The Shadow Communities & Local Government Secretary promised a Conservative Government would ensure small business rate relief was applied automatically to firms, rather than businesses having to claim it themselves.
Currently, firms have to fill out time-consuming paperwork to claim rate relief, despite the fact that Whitehall’s tax inspectors know precisely which firms would be eligible. The Local Government Association has estimated that less than half of the 870,000 firms eligible for the rebate have claimed the money.
“Gordon Brown is making it difficult for small firms to claim the tax relief to which they are entitled. He is compounding their misery by finding new ways to drive up business rates by stealth.”
And she promised, “Conservatives would ensure that small firms automatically receive rate relief, cutting their paperwork and their tax bills and giving many of them a fighting chance to stay afloat (during the recession).”
The Conservative MP, Peter Luff, has put forward a Private Members' Bill to get rate relief applied automatically for small firms.