Shops restaurants, cafés and pubs in Leyland have been given a £1,000 discount on their business rates.

As part of the 2014/15 budget, South Ribble Borough Council brought in the policy with the aim of bringing empty shops back into use, encouraging new businesses to take up retail space and to give a boost to existing business owners.

St Catherine’s Hospice is also getting business rate relief for its shops.

Head of trading for the hospice, Rachel Hewitt said: “Receiving the business rate relief means even more of the funds raised through generous donations and supportive customers can be spent directly on providing our specialised care for people affected by life-shortening conditions in the area.”

South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet member for shared services and corporate support, Councillor Phil Hamman, said: “I would urge anyone who thinks that they might be eligible for a business rates discount to get in touch and find out if they could be saving money.”

The discount of £1,000 for shops, pubs and restaurants with a rateable property value of £50,000 or less will be in place for up to two years.

Potential ratepayers will be offered a 50 per cent reduction, for the next 18 months, if they take up a retail space that has been empty for longer than a year.

If you think your business might be eligible for retail rate relief call 01772 625238 or 01772 625239.