Tories urge firms to apply for rate relief

SMALL businesses in the Ribble Valley are being urged to apply for the rate relief to which they are entitled by local Conservative councillors.

"The Local Government Association has estimated less than half of the 870,000 firms eligible for the rebate in England, have claimed the money," explained Conservative councillor Simon Farnsworth. "In the recession small businesses need help to survive and preserve much needed jobs – 18.9% of the workforce of the Ribble Valley are self employed, the highest per head of any authority in Lancashire."

Ken Hind, Conservative chairman, added: "All Ribble Valley Conservative councillors will take up with the council any cases of businesses where there is a problem. We have to develop new strategies to help our community in the recession and help to save jobs and businesses."

He explained how Caroline Spellman, the Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary has pledged to cut taxes and paperwork for small shops and small firms to help them survive the recession. She has also promised a future Conservative Government would ensure small business rate relief will be applied automatically to small firms, rather than businesses having to claim it themselves.

Conservative MP Peter Luff has also put forward a Private Members' Bill to get rate relief applied automatically for small firms. This is being supported by Valley MP Nigel Evans.