Hunts firm's �85k hardship rate relief

ONE Huntingdonshire firm has been excused paying �85,000 in business rates, out of a total of �90,000 hardship relief given by the district council since April this year. In the five years up to the end of March HDC awarded hardship relief in only five ca

ONE Huntingdonshire firm has been excused paying �85,000 in business rates, out of a total of �90,000 hardship relief given by the district council since April this year.

In the five years up to the end of March HDC awarded hardship relief in only five cases. Ten applications were refused.

The council believes the increasing trend of businesses seeking relief will continue for as long as the recession does.

"We are already supporting quite a few businesses," Councillor Terry Rogers, executive member for finance, told HDC's cabinet.


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HDC would not name the company involved in the �85,000 relief, but said cases sometimes involved the difference between employees keeping and losing their jobs.

"While the council has the power to grant business rate relief at its discretion, on the grounds of hardship, it is something that we do very rarely," a spokesman said. "When we do we need to demonstrate it is in the taxpayers' interests to do so.

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"This requires the company concerned to make a substantial case to us as to why it needs a temporary relief, and how the district will benefit in the long term. For example it could be that a number of jobs are at risk if the company fails."

Three-quarters of the cost of hardship relief is borne by central Government, with Council Tax payers picking up the other 25 per cent of the bill.

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