In yesterdays Autumn statement the Chancellor extended the Small Business Rates Relief scheme (SBRR) for a further 6 months until the end of March 2013.As a consequence, eligible small businesses with assessments up to Rateable Value £6,000 will have no rates liability until 1 April 2013. Above £6,000 the relief reduces on a sliding scale from 100% at RV £6,000 to 0% at RV £12,000.
In the previous two Budgets the Government had announced an enhanced small business rates relief scheme operating from October 2010 to September 2012 any it was widely anticipated that this would not be continued. This is therefore good for small businesses.
How does it affect business centres?
It your business centre has taken the opportunity to have all of your offices/workshops individually assessed for rates then it could assist you in the letting process by bringing down the total cost of occupying space in your centre.
Instead of offering fully inclusive rents (including local authority rates) why not offer a package exclusive of rates so that the client can get the benefit of SBRR.
The client has to be a small business with one place of business so not all clients will qualify. But if they do it brings down the cost of occupation and is effectively a reduction in rent.
How many of your clients would like that?
You will be involved in some administration for existing clients so charge a small fee for processing a new agreement, or indeed charge a small fee to assist the business get the Relief from the Local Authority.
To attract new clients you could advertise a reduction in occupancy costs until April 2013 particularly to attract home workers.
One of the attractions of business centres is the all-inclusive price and this will continue to attract some clients. But in these stressed economic times, costs are so important and this scheme will help. You should be flexible enough to offer both term inclusive and exclusive of rates
Tom Stokes www.thebusinesscentrespecialist.co.uk