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A LOCAL authority has welcomed the chancellor’s budget announcement to set aside over £900,000 in the next four years for businesses across the Winchester district that face a significant rise in their business rates.

This funding is ‘front-loaded’, with £500,000 available for the financial year, as a result of the 2017 revaluation exercise by the Valuation Office that takes effect from April 1.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, Winchester City Council’s portfolio holder for finance, said: ‘Our analysis suggests a third of businesses in Winchester will see a reduction in their business rates and another third will see a rise.

‘We’ll be working on a new discretionary relief scheme to make sure this money is targeted towards those businesses facing large rises and occupying lower value properties.’

The district covers Denmead, Whiteley, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham.