Businesses call for Time to Pay rules relaxation

Roger House, chairman of the FSB Kent and Medway
Roger House, chairman of the FSB Kent and Medway

by David Jones

Owners of small businesses are calling on the government to relax the rules on a scheme which allows struggling firms more time to pay their tax after this week's riots.

Businesses are allowed to use the Time to Pay plan once but there are concerns following the riots in Kent earlier this week that some firms might be left needing to use it again but unable to do so.

Roger House, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chairman for Kent and Medway, says firms directly affected by the riots are trying to pick themselves up from the damage caused.

He said they were "still reeling from the shock" of the disturbances.

Mr House said: "Fortunately, the government is stepping up and supporting small firms at this time and we are glad to see that insurance deadlines and the Time to Pay scheme have both been extended - sensible measures the Federation of Small Businesses had been saying were absolutely crucial.

"With concerns that businesses are not able to use the Time to Pay scheme more than once, the FSB is urging HMRC to ensure that those businesses that have been looted or burnt down and which have used this scheme before are able to use it again.

Mr House said his federation welcomed the government's announcement it would be supporting high street traders with the suspension of business rate payments and offering help to uninsured firms.

"At this time, it is also vital that people keep trade local to support their communities so that businesses can get up and running again," Mr House added.

While the riots were largely confined to London and other large cities, Kent did not totally escape damage.

In Medway, a fire was started outside the Lloyds TSB bank in Gillingham and other fires started in Chatham and Gillingham. Several cars were torched.

Five people were arrested in Gravesend and 11 in Medway. A group of 15 young men, believed to have travelled to Medway by train, caused damage after starting several fires.

In Dartford, yobs tried to set fire to a community centre.

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