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11 April 2019

Government Writes To Local Authorities Regarding Local Newspaper Business Rates Extension

The Government has written to councils to remind them of the extension to business rates relief for local newspapers, which the News Media Association campaigned for over a number of years.  

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Government has written to all English Billing Authorities reminding them of the extension to business rates relief for local newspapers for the period April 2019-March 2020.

The extension for the scheme, which was due to finish this month, was announced by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in October 2018 in the Autumn budget.

The relief is intended to support local newspapers as they adapt to structural change in the industry.

In a letter addressed to chief finance officers of English Billing Authorities confirming business rates across England the Government said: “The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year on office space occupied by local newspapers.

"This was due to run for 2 years from 1st April 2017. At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government extended the scheme for an additional year (2019/20). This scheme provides up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.

"The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”, which can be obtained at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-case-for-abusiness-rates-relief-for-local-newspapers.“