DCLG urges update of business rate software

31 Jul 17

Whitehall has called on software firms to provide updated programmes to local councils so they can grant new levels of business rate relief to small businesses.

In the March Budget, the government offered thousands of small companies millions of pounds of support after a number were due to be hit with hikes in their rates following changes to the system.

However many are still waiting for their bills to be adjusted because local authorities haven’t had the necessary updated software delivered to them.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had pledged that companies would not see their bills go up by more than £50 a month and had set aside £25m of government support to help affected firms.

Local government minister Marcus Jones has called councils’ main software providers into Whitehall for talks and set a deadline of August 21 for Capita, Civica and Northgate Public Services to get the new systems to councils.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "We've been clear that local authorities should take urgent steps to make sure small businesses benefit from the funding that we announced at the Budget in April.

"There are councils that have pressed ahead and issued revised bills. Others have chosen to wait for software updates to deliver this particular scheme and we've taken steps to make sure business get this relief as quickly as possible."

A Civica spokesman said: “We are working to implement the necessary updates as quickly as possible in conjunction with both DCLG and with our customers.”

Northgate Public Services said its update would be available as soon as possible and Capita said its had offered a workaround solution for its clients for the interim period between the release of the updated software and the implementation of the new rates model.

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