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Boost for small businesses

Gosport Borough Council has increased the help available to small businesses struggling with increases to their rates. 

More than 100 businesses could now get help, after councillors decided on policy changes last night. 

The changes will ensure the council can give local businesses the maximum amount of financial help with their rates bills over the next four years. 

Businesses can now get help when their rate increase is above 5% of last year's bill, rather than 10%. And they can now get 65% of their rate increase discounted, rather than a maximum of 55%. Previously, the vast majority of businesses only got a 45% discount. 

A temporary scheme to help pubs with their rates has been extended to 2019. 

Cllr Mark Hook is Leader of the Council and Chairman of its Policy and Organisation Board, which made the decision. He said: "Many small businesses have found it hard to deal with the increases in business rates resulting from the recent national revaluation. 

"We wanted to maximise the relief available to local businesses and help them thrive, which of course boosts the local economy. Only 21 businesses benefited from the old policy. However, under this policy change the scheme will help around 100 local businesses." 

The rate relief scheme is funded by the government.

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