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Darling gives firms more time to pay business rates

Chancellor Alistair Darling has scaled back the 5 per cent rise in business rates due today to 2 per cent for this year.

Companies will also be able to defer the remaining 3 per cent of this year’s up-rating over the next three years.

Rates are uprated each April in line with the retail price index for the previous September but the 5 per cent planned hike would have come at a time when inflation has fallen to zero.

The reduced rate follows intense lobbying from business leaders and UK councils with concerns that a 5 per cent rise would stifle cash-strapped businesses in the current economic climate.

In an official statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “”The Government recognises that businesses need help now to ease their cash flow at a time when money is very tight.”

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