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Business rates relief for small firms too slow

A £300m relief fund intended to provide business rates support to small businesses has been criticised for offering “false hope”, as it has been slow to pass on cash to businesses in need.

Of a total of £175m allocated to councils for the year to March 2018, more than £70m has yet to be passed on to local businesses, according to research by property company Gerald Eve. This comes 300 days after the scheme was launched by chancellor Philip Hammond.

According to Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, one in five businesses facing rates hikes are planning to sell, hand-on or close their firms. “The Chancellor’s £300m hardship fund offered a small glimmer of hope. For many, it’s proved to be false hope,” he told The Telegraph.

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