BOURNEMOUTH council has been "named and shamed" for failing to distribute tax relief to businesses.

In the spring budget the Government announced a new £300 million scheme of business rates relief to be distributed by councils over a four year period.

In September, Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said he expected councils to make "rapid progress" in implementing the scheme, and that "the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable".

The Government has now published a list of councils which have distributed the cash, including Poole but not Bournemouth. The money for Bournemouth, some £366,000 for this financial year, will be returned to the Government if not distributed.

The council says it introduced a distribution scheme last month and it is currently considering applications.

Darren Vickers, council revenues manager, said: "Bournemouth Borough Council’s Business Rates Revaluation Support Scheme was introduced in September 2017, following approval by the council and an update to our software system.

"At the end of September, application forms were posted to those businesses that were considered eligible and full details of the scheme appeared on our website. All the applications that have been received are being processed.

"We want to ensure we maximise the financial support for Bournemouth’s businesses and would encourage any business who would consider themselves eligible to submit an application."

Surveyors CVS, a firm specialising in business rates reduction, said the council had been "named and shamed".

Its chief executive Mark Rigby said: "If there are going to be any further reliefs granted to struggling businesses announced in the up-coming autumn budget, then quite frankly councils need to pull their finger out and get ready, as there’s only six months until the start of the next financial year.

"Bournemouth council should have distributed its business rates relief quicker. To be named and shamed after so many warnings doesn’t suggest that they’re on the side of local business."

For more on the Bournemouth scheme visit

IN Poole last month there was a row over which companies were due to receive the rates relief grant.

The authority has been granted £322,000 for this year and according to the Government has already begun distribution.

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Eades had claimed the authority planned to distribute the cash to national companies including cosmetics giant Lush. However the borough said at the time that its list was unfinished.

Cllr May Haines, cabinet member for finance, said: "When establishing fair criteria for the allocation of this government grant, we created a list which focuses on supporting local, independent businesses, and used this list for modelling purposes.

"This list has also been used for illustrative purposes for councillors, however it is not yet finalised.

"A further review will be carried out later in the year to determine how best to extend the scheme to ensure the whole amount for 2017/18 is distributed."