By Local Democracy Reporter
THURROCK Council is taking the “unprecedented” step of allowing all businesses to defer on paying their business rates until May.
The council has chosen to give businesses some relief from the tax as the country goes into lockdown conditions with only essential firms such as supermarkets being permitted to open.
It is hoped that the move will complement the support already being offered by central government, which also allows all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses to apply for a 12-month business rate holiday, as well as a range of grant funding options.
Councillor Shane Hebb, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “We will be working with the government to make sure that Thurrock businesses will get all the help and support they can from the welcome package of measures which have been announced by the government.
“But we are going further than this and will make sure that our local businesses get the breathing space they need while the government’s plans are put in place. We have decided that all direct debits for business rates scheduled to be taken in April will be deferred until May.
“This will help our local businesses in the short term while the government puts its new relief scheme in place.
“This is an unprecedented situation but we are taking unprecedented action and doing all we can to make sure that our business are supported as measures are taken to keep our residents safe.”
More than 70 people have been infected by the coronavirus in Essex and the government has been gradually tightening restrictions on businesses to prevent the virus continuing to spread.
The most significant change came on Monday evening when Prime Minister Boris Johnson address the public and explain that for the next three weeks everyone “must stay at home” and all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothes and electronic store will have to close.
The measure will be reviewed in three weeks and could be in place for months.
“No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this,” said Mr Johnson.
“I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.
“And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.
“And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.”
Categories: Council tax
Authorities: Thurrock Council