It was recently reported by data analytics experts Destin Solutions that there was potentially millions worth of fraud being perpetuated by businesses erroneously claiming Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) across English Authorities.
Following further analysis Destin Solutions have been able to identify the full extent of the fraud as being just under £19.5 million and can provide a breakdown of the level of fraud at a County level identifying the top SBRR Fraud hot spots. Coming out top is the Greater London Authorities who collectively account for just under 14% of all SBRR Fraud in England equating to a value of just over £2.7m in lost revenue.
Authorities in the Midlands accounted for the second highest amount of erroneous claims losing an estimated £1.1m, followed by Greater Manchester losing out on just over £1m in incorrect claims.
A further 8 counties were identified as having over half a million in false claims each including; West Yorkshire, Kent, Lancashire, Hampshire, Devon, Essex, Surrey and Leicestershire.
Only three Counties included in the analysis were losing out on less than £50,000 in false claims these were; Herefordshire, Tyneside and the Isle of Wight.
Small Business Rates Relief is awarded to businesses across England based on the fact that they only use one property or that the property only has a rateable value of less than £15,000. Following the consolidation of all business rates data published publicly by Local Authorities, Destin Solutions have the capacity to view and report on this data all from within HUB. HUB is a portal which uses advanced data matching algorithms and has uncovered the fact that a number of businesses are operating within more than one Authority, sometimes in neighbouring Authorities and in some instances on the other side of the country.
Peter Haywood, Revenues Manager at South Ribble Council went on to comment “For the first time ever we have been able to identify business rates accounts that are receiving small business rate relief, but where there is no entitlement to that relief. Even in a relatively small council such as South Ribble the amount of incorrectly awarded relief and subsequent additional income we have identified has far exceeded our expectations. HUB is straightforward, simple and easy to use, providing you with focussed data from which to work from.”
South Ribble are based in Lancashire which currently ranks 6th out of the 48 English Counties, in terms of amount of revenue lost to false claims, totalling just over £637,000. A breakdown of the analysis of the top ten counties can be found in the table below.
|RANKING||COUNTY||INCORRECT CLAIMS VALUE||% OF FALSE CLAIMS|
|1||Greater London Authority||£2,707, 075||14.1%|
Destin Solutions Director, Duncan Baxter goes on to comment “Small Business Rates Relief like any other revenue-based area in Local Government is open to fraud and error and now we finally have the detailed data to support the findings. This is another example of how with smart analysis and collaborative sharing of data, Councils can save on unnecessary expenditure.”