‘Don’t delay setting up rates relief fund’

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A Lancashire business leader has urged the winner of next month’s General Election to make £300m of relief to small businesses a priority.

Norman Tenray, the managing director of Longridge-based building supplies firm, OBAS UK, said the delay to a package promised by the last Government would hurt firms across the county.

It had been hoped a support fund would be set up following the end of a consultation into rates which have soared in some parts of the country.

However, the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed it will be up to the next government to publish its response to the findings.

Mr Tenray said: “There is potential for this delay to last several months and that is simply unacceptable to businesses struggling with the impact of rates revaluation.

“The fund promised to protect affected businesses was ready for implementation and now, due to no fault of their own, those hardest hit will be the ones which shoulder the burden.

“I would call on whichever political party forms the next Government to make this a priority and allow small businesses in places like Lancashire to prosper and grow.”

OBAS UK is the sponsor of the Small Business of the Year category at the year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs. Mr Tenray will head the category’s judging panel which meets applicants for the first round of interviews next Tuesday, May 16.

He will be joined Martyn Jones, of Leyland security firm Remvox, and Michelle Cuffe, of Lytham’s Excel Fostering which picked up two awards at the BIBAs in 2016.

The first round of interviews will continue until May 25 when the Business of the Year category judges meet.

The awards’ finalists will then be announced on June 5 ahead of a second round of judging.