MAJOR new help for small shops, cafes, pubs and businesses is on the way to Worcester - in a bid to boost the city's economy.

Worcester City Council is to offer companies significant discounts on their business rates to help them survive.

It follows a deal from Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement aimed to helping small traders.

Under the changes small shops, companies that have just taken over former retail premises, and owners of new business buildings which are not yet occupied are all set to benefit in a big way.

The policy, which is set to be backed by the city's Labour leadership next Tuesday, includes:

- A two-year discount of up to £1,000 for smaller retail premises, pubs and cafes based in buildings with rateable values below £50,000

- A whopping 50 per cent discount for 18 months for new occupiers of former retail premises which have been unoccupied for a year

- A 100 per cent discount for newly completed business buildings which have not yet been occupied, lasting 18 months

The costs of providing the discounts will be repaid to the city council by the Government, and is being funded by the Treasury.

Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “We want to do everything we can to help Worcester’s economy, to build a city of prosperity, ambition and opportunity.

“I hope my cabinet colleagues will support these recommendations, which will give a boost to some of our local businesses as the shoots of recovery start to take root."

If accepted by the cabinet on Tuesday, February 11 it will then need approval from full council on Tuesday, February 25.

It has already been well received by the business community in Worcester.

Rick Abbotts, Worcestershire branch chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Federation of Small Businesses in Worcester welcomes the initiative to assist local businesses with reducing the burden of business rates.

"Nationally we have achieved considerable success in convincing the government of the urgent need to provide the funding opportunities for local authorities to support these measures.

"We shall look forward to seeing the resulting growth for existing and new small business ventures in the city."