PUBS and small businesses are set to receive new business rates support as Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) approved three new relief schemes on Wednesday.

The incentives, funded by central government, will be introduced in the Test Valley area to lessen the blow of businesses hit by large rates and others who have become ineligible for current relief programmes.

Pubs will also specifically benefit from a Pub Relief Scheme, where those with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will be offered a £1,000 relief grant.

TVBC finance portfolio holder councillor Peter Giddings said: “The government has made these new business rates relief schemes discretionary so I am delighted that the council has agreed to pro-actively apply them.

“It is this kind of action that underpins our Corporate Plan objective of making Test Valley a great place to work and do business.”

An estimated 70 pubs are eligible for the relief and 30 have already begun receiving the support.

The George Inn Vernham Dean pub owner Reece Garner said: “It sounds like a fantastic idea, we need all the help we can get but £1,000 doesn’t really go far enough.

“They’re doubling the rates for a lot of people and in all honesty it is not really a relief to me.

“I’m having to pass on the cost to my customers through food and drink because I’ve seen a 45% rate increase, and we’re not the only ones.”

Other small and rural businesses could receive a new Supporting Small Business Relief being awarded to those who lost out in the 2017 national revaluation exercise, and a third discretionary scheme determined by TVBC which has decided to focus on supporting local businesses.

That particular relief is funded by central government with £551,000 over the next four years and is estimated to support 275 companies.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce head of policy and representation Mark Baulch said: “Hampshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes the news of the Test Valley Borough Council discretionary business rate relief discussion. The Chamber and its members have been able to comment on proposed changes and feedback their thoughts on this and we now look forward to hearing the outcome of these discussions.

“The Hampshire Chamber has capitalised on its accreditation to the British Chambers of Commerce and has been continuously lobbying on behalf of Test Valley businesses to seek a fairer system of rates, both at a local and national level.

“The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr. Adam Marshall, has previously commented that: “Action to reduce the many up-front costs that UK companies face would be an important first step in ensuring firms have the best possible environment to invest and grow”.

“We now look forward to receiving the detail of these proposals so that we can understand how local businesses may be assisted by them.”

TVBC are contacting businesses who could be eligible for relief, and ratepayers looking for more information can contact