New Government figures show that less than half of eligible English councils have begun allocating their share of the £300 million business rates hardship fund launched six months ago. Sixteen English councils have not implemented any of the three business rates relief measures announced by the Chancellor at the Spring Budget.

The area worst affected by inaction is London, where the impact of April’s revaluation was greatest. A third of councils in the capital are yet to start sharing the almost £50 million they received from the hardship fund.

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman, said “Today’s name and shame list is truly shocking. Thousands of small firms were left fearing for their futures after April’s rates revaluation. Now we learn that many have received no support from local authorities despite being promised relief no less than six months ago.

“Anything less than every English council having every relief measure in place is unacceptable. While those responsible have spent months playing the blame game, small firms have been trying to keep their heads above water.

“In London, where firms are most in need of help, you have councils sitting on £50 million of relief funding that is intended for desperate small businesses.

“Enough is enough. Any small firm running such an inefficient project would not survive. The Chancellor and Communities Secretary need to inject some urgency. We look forward to all councils having all measures in place by the Autumn Budget.”