Altrincham Market says its eligible traders will now be able to secure a £10,000 grant after the Chancellor closed a loophole that denied rates relief to businesses that shared a space.
The market had called on the government to “pull its finger out” after discovering last month that because it had sought to simplify rate collection by consolidating all their businesses under one business rate, Market House’s businesses – such as Honest Crust Pizza and Tender Cow – were not eligible.
Local MP Sir Graham Brady has been lobbying government to address the loophole and raised the issue in Parliament, receiving an assurance from Chancellor Rishi Sunak that he would look into the matter.
And Sir Graham phoned the market last night to say he had been successful in securing the change that would benefit the market and all businesses in a similar position.
An update from the market reads: “A glimmer of good news came last night when Sir Graham Brady rang to say that he’d just got off the phone to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and all businesses that share space and pay rates through an intermediary but don’t have that critical ‘billing number’ will now be eligible for discretionary support from their local authorities and a pot of money (we think it was £1.2bn but don’t quote us on that) had been set aside to pay it.
“It means that each of the eligible businesses will now get the £10k grant that eluded them because of a set of inflexible rules that we set out in our FB post a few weeks ago.”
“A big thanks to Sir Graham Brady for #GettingBehindUs and lobbying for a common sense approach to plugging the gaps in the Chancellor’s support measures for the hospitality sector.”
The market said it was still hoping to get the government to rethink a decision to increase the rateable value of its business rates by 484%, having discovered it was now being classified in the same bracket as shopping centre food courts, full of multinational franchises.
It added: “When we looked into it we’ve been recategorised as use ‘104S Food Court’ of which there are 157 in the country. 44% of those in that list are now defunct and 45% are food courts in shopping centres like Westfield in London, Brierly Hill in Birmingham and the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham.
“In the eyes of the valuation office we’re in there with Burger Kings, McDonalds, Spud-u-Like’s and the Arndale Centre Food Court whose corporate glitz seems to obliterate our rather rickety low-fi approach. To add to that our new rateable value of tops the list at £181,000!”