Retailers and leisure outfits in an East Lancashire borough are set to get a welcome £1.5 million shot in the arm.

Around 200 businesses in Hyndburn should benefit from an extension of a non-domestic rates relief programme, offering discounts of up to 75 per cent.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed government support for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors relief initiative last November, costing £2.4 billion.

And councillors sitting on Hyndburn Council's cabinet have approved the borough's version of the scheme, to run from April 1 to the following March 31.

Council revenues head, Lee Middlehurst, said in a report: "This will support the businesses that make our high streets and town centres a success and help them evolve and adapt to changing customer demands.

"Government has supported billing authorities and their preceptors by funding, in full, the discretionary reliefs awarded under these measures using grants delivered under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003."

Councillors have been told that a similar Whitehall scheme was first introduced in 2019 for the retail sector but was extended to cover the hospitality and leisure industries in 2020-21.

Mr Middlehurst added: "For the 2024/2025 scheme, the council has identified approximately 200 businesses that are considered to meet the relevant eligibility criteria....with a total of £1.5m in business rates relief to be awarded.

"As a pro-active measure, and in line with guidance, the council intend to apply the retail, hospitality and leisure relief for these businesses automatically as part of the annual billing process for 2024/2025.

"For the 2024/2025 scheme, awards of retail, hospitality and leisure relief are capped at £110,000 per business.

"In light of this, the council will request applications to be made for retail, hospitality and leisure relief from businesses that are part of a national chains, or a subsidiary of another business."

The cabinet's approval gives the borough's resources director delegated authority to calculate and administer the relief scheme according to business qualifications.

Firms can also receive a maximum of £315,000 each, over a three-year period, and other assistance such as Covid grants and other subsidies will be taken into account.