A DISCOUNT business rates scheme has been drawn up to help traders and businesses in Burnley, Padiham and Hapton to pull away from the recession.

Retailers across the borough are being told that they may be eligible for a £1,000 reduction in their business rates over the next two years.

Town hall bosses have announced that those premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000 could be entitled to a £1,000 reduction in their bills until the summer of 2016.

And the authority has also unveiled another measure which it hopes will reduce the number of vacant stores.

Those looking to start a new venture in empty shops or buildings may qualify for a 50 per cent reduction in what they have to pay out for 18 months, if the site has not been used for a year or more.

Coun Howard Baker, cabinet member for resources and performance management, said: “A strong local economy is essential for Burnley’s future and the council is working to create the right conditions for business to flourish.

“Providing support to businesses is of huge importance to us and we want to ensure that all business owners receive the discounts that they are entitled to.

“We also want to see empty shops brought back into use. This scheme encourages business people to move into vacant properties and bring them back into use.”

Council revenues manager Peter Haywood added: “I would urge anyone who thinks that they may be eligible for a business rates discount to get in touch with us and we’ll also be contacting businesses who qualify for this.”

People interested in finding out more about the scheme are being urged to visit www.burnley.gov.uk/businessrates online.