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Automatic rate relief bill wins MPs’ support

A business group is pushing for automatic rate relief for small firms to become law.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been backing a private members’ bill that would give small firms that qualify for rate relief an automatic entitlement to the tax break without first having to apply for it.

An Early Day Motion supporting the business rate reform has been signed by over 100 MPs.

The FSB is arguing that automatic exemption from paying business rates could be worth up to £1,200 and would be an important saving for many small businesses.

Despite the fact that business rates are the third largest cost to small firms, after salaries and rent, the FSB claimed that large numbers of small firms are unaware they are entitled to rate relief because their local authorities do not publicise it well enough.

John Wright, the FSB’s national chairman, said: “It is great to see increased support for this Bill, which demonstrates a general consensus of the importance of this relief for small businesses during these tough times.

“During the recession, this cash injection could save many small businesses from laying off staff or closing down completely.”

The Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons on 6 March.