Financial incentives will be available to help enterprises expand and create a more diverse retail and leisure offer in the town centre.
The support is aimed at businesses moving into vacant units in specific areas of the town centre, including key gateways and areas with high footfall.
The incentives will be available to business start-ups, new businesses to Middlesbrough and existing businesses looking to expand.
Small Business Rate Relief – The government will provide 100% relief until March 31, 2016 for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. The rate of relief will decrease from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.
Retail Relief – The government will provide a relief of up to £1,500 to occupy retail properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less (and more than £6,001) in 2015-16.
Business Rates Reoccupation Relief – The government will provide a 50% business rates discount for 18 months for businesses moving into previously empty retail premises that have been empty for 12 months or more without claiming any relief, until March 31, 2016. Retail Relief can also be applied for in addition to Reoccupation Relief.
Business Rates Incentive Scheme – Middlesbrough Council is offering a rate discount scheme providing a 50% rate discount for 12 months, payable to businesses moving into an eligible vacant unit, which has a rateable value from £12,001 until March 2016. Retail Relief can be applied for in addition but will not be eligible for Business Rates Reoccupation Relief.
Empty Shop Refit Scheme – In addition to the above rates discount schemes, Middlesbrough Council is offering a grant, which will give businesses that move into an empty town centre unit, in one of the eligible areas, the opportunity to apply for up to a maximum of £5,000 for assistance with the purchase of fixtures and fittings, and security, signage and refurbishment costs. This can be applied for in addition to eligible rate relief schemes.
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Middlesbrough has a history of successful initiatives to address the issues of town centre vacancies and where possible bring them back into use.
“Previous schemes have included the use of shutter graphics and window vinyls and the hugely popular Baker and Bedford Street regeneration has demonstrated the great appetite for low-cost space to accommodate independent businesses.
“Middlesbrough is a great place to do business – with a 30,000-plus student population, upwards of £500m of investment in housing, education and leisure and great transport links, now is a great time to running a business in Middlesbrough.
“In addition and to complement the current national government schemes, these initiatives are further evidence of Middlesbrough Council’s ongoing commitment to provide vital support to new and expanding businesses, and reward them for the confidence they show in the town.
“They’re the lifeblood of the town centre, and their success key to Middlesbrough’s ongoing development as a regional focal point for shopping, business and leisure.”
Support is available until March 31, 2016. For full details of the schemes available, along with eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit Middlesbrough Council website at http://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/business/retailsupport