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Support is growing rapidly for a private members’ bill which would deliver financial assistance to small businesses hit hard by the current economic downturn.
The Small Business Rate Relief (Automatic Payment) Bill is gathering momentum as it heads towards its Second Reading on 6th March, with MPs from all sides of the House pledging their support.

The bill, put forward by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire and Chairman of the Business and Enterprise committee, would see business rate relief granted automatically for small businesses - a vital boost during the economic downturn. Currently, all businesses that qualify for relief still need to apply to their local authority to receive it.

Rate relief was made automatic in Wales in April 2007, but in England is estimated that over half of small businesses miss out on the relief because they don’t know about it. According to the Local Government Association (LGA) £400 million worth of rate relief did not get to qualifying small businesses in 2006.

Peter has today published the draft bill on his website - - and has opened it up for consultation. The consultation will run until 20th February and comments are invited from all interested parties and organisations.

Commenting Peter said:

“All around the country, the worsening economic situation is having a devastating effect on small businesses. These businesses not only provide employment and services, but also form the backbone of local communities. They desperately need our help.

“I am not pretending that my Bill alone will solve all their problems. But it is the first step to ensuring that we save as many small businesses as possible from unnecessarily going bust. I am delighted that MPs from all sides of the House of Commons are uniting to take action on this, and would urge the Government to back my bill when it comes before the House on 6th March”.


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