Council's rent help for small business

Struggling businesses can get help with their rental costs during the credit crunch, a council has said.

Small firms renting property from Wellingborough Council can apply for a rent reduction of up to 50 per cent to help them make ends meet.

The financial help only applies to businesses in certain circumstances but Wellingborough Council has application forms for Small Business Rate Relief on its website.

It is felt the scheme could be a lifeline for shops and manufacturing companies that are being forced to make redundancies or even close for good.

Cllr Paul Crofts, who represents the Castle ward on Wellingborough Council, said: "Clearly in the current context this is something the council could consider making more widely available.

"We should be looking comprehensively at what support we can provide everyone during the credit crunch.

"The council is a landlord for local businesses and shops and it's the role of the council to take measures to support those businesses."

According to Wellingborough Council's website, reductions of 50 per cent are available to businesses occupying single properties with a rateable value of 5,000 or less.

Relief is also available for businesses with rateable values of up to 10,000. The higher the property's rateable value, the less relief the firm is entitled to.

However, applications for relief must be submitted within six months of the end of the financial year. This means businesses will not be able to take advantage of it until April.

Similar reductions are available from local authorities in Corby, Kettering and East Northamptonshire.

Corby Council's website says charities can get business rate bills reduced by 80 per cent. It says other non-profit organisations can apply for up to 100 per cent discretionary relief.

Meanwhile Wellingborough Council is to hold an event on Tuesday to give people advice about how redundancy victims can get back into work.

It comes in light of job cuts at Tingdene Homes, which slashed 99 jobs between September and December, and Sunlight, which has made 97 people redundant.

For more information on Small Business Rate Relief in Wellingborough, call Wellingborough Council's business rates section on 01933 231691.

Application forms can be downloaded from Wellingborough Council's website.