A government minister has suggested councils delay issuing business rate bills until after the Budget next month.
In a written statement to parliament yesterday (3 February), the financial secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman said local authorities in England should ‘consider issuing business rates bills after the Chancellor has set out his plan at the Budget’.
‘The government recognises the crucial work local authorities continue to do to support the pandemic response; by their taking this action, it believes it is in the public interest to avoid any potential confusion for businesses and to avoid the cost of having to re-bill businesses in light of any measures that may be included in the Budget,’ added Mr Norman.
Responding to the announcement, CIPFA associate director Andy Burns said: ‘CIPFA understands some of the rationale underpinning councils being asked to delay the annual billing process. Issuing bills which may need to be re-issued later puts further burden on both businesses and local government, who are already under significant pressure.
‘However, delaying the billing process without details of what government intends to introduce in the Budget means that a significant amount of income which would have been collected at the beginning of April many not materialise.
‘If this is to be taken forward, government must extend the 2020-21 measures in place to minimise adverse cash flow implications for those authorities who comply.’
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