New evidence shows that the fund set up by the government to provide struggling firms with business rates relief has not yet released any money to the 400,000-plus firms that have applied to it.

This fund is worth £1.5 billion, but the companies that applied for some of the cash to help them meet business rates payments in the wake of the pandemic have been left waiting through lengthy appeal processes. The situation is being described by Colliers, a business ratings company, as disgraceful, and it has left many smaller firms that were already in trouble facing dire straits.

From the beginning of April to the end of September, a total of 446,620 firms put in requests for the Valuation Office Agency to look at their business rates bills. The majority of these companies were citing material changes of circumstances (MCC) due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, which should make them eligible.

However, the government opted to set up the relief fund as a replacement for appeals, only for the necessary legislation to get stuck in Parliament and leave firms hanging. Accountants in Goole or any other part of the UK may have alternative suggestions for firms struggling to pay bills following the pandemic.

This inability to get the changes for appealing business rates bills through Parliament has left firms that cannot meet payments with no clear way to get them re-evaluated. John Webber from Colliers criticised the government for tearing up the previous rules after companies had already applied using them.

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