RATE relief is being offered to businesses in Leyland.

Small business owners and potential business owners will see a reduction in their business rates under the new policy.

From April 1, a discount of £1,000 for shops, pubs and restaurants with a rateable property value of £50,000 or less will be in place for the next two financial years.

In an effort to bring empty retail premises back into use, potential ratepayers will be offered a 50 per cent reduction if they take up a retail space that has been empty for longer than a year.

Examples of businesses that will qualify for the reductions include retail shops, post offices, travel agents, beauty salons, pubs, bars and restaurants.

South Ribble Borough Council cabinet member, councillor Phil Hamman, said: “Local high streets have really taken a hit during the economic downturn, but we hope that this reduction in rates will bring some relief to the hard-working traders across the borough.

“We do everything we can to support local businesses in the area and bringing empty shops back into use will be a great boost for our towns and villages.

“We already have some real success stories in South Ribble, with 100 per cent occupancy at Leyland Market and we have assisted more than 440 businesses in the last two years.”