Following plans announced by the government last year, business rates in Bedford Town Centre are set to fall overall for Retail and Hospitality premises from 1 April 2023.
Bedford Borough Council, which has been pushing for a reduction in rates payable in the area for a number of years, has welcomed the announcement.
The change has come after the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) revalued the rates that all businesses pay and the government chose not to increase rates by inflation.
Central Government sets business rates, and Bedford Borough Council are required to collect them. The Council then only keeps 49% of the business rates that it collects, 50% goes back to Central Government and the remaining 1% goes to Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue.
Alongside the revaluation, recipients of the Council’s Retail, Hospitality and Leisure business rates relief will see their rate of relief rise under the scheme, increasing from 50% to 75% during 2023/24. This relief will be subject to a cap of £110,000 per eligible business.
Both these changes will benefit businesses in Bedford Town Centre by helping to reduce the pressure from business rates and encourage others to invest in the area by opening their own businesses.
Councillor Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres and Planning at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Business rates are set by central Government and should have been changed sooner. However, we welcome these changes by the government’s Valuation Office, which demonstrate that the ongoing concern we and many others, including local businesses and national small business organisations, have voiced about the high level of rates that our businesses pay has been listened to and acted upon.
“In Bedford Borough, we offer the maximum small business rate relief we are able to as a Council. While we would have liked to have seen the changes sooner, this should give businesses cause to celebrate yet another great reason to come to Bedford, with business rates reducing in our town centre, supporting those who own or are looking to set up a business.”
Bedford Borough Council will be contacting businesses directly to make them aware of their new charges in the next few months.
If you own a business in Bedford Borough, you can sign up for an online business rates account that will allow you to view up to date information and manage your business rates digitally. To create an account or find out more about the different types of business rates relief available from the Council, visit www.bedford.gov.uk/businessrates.