Motor retailers will gain little from the Government’s three per cent business rate deferment scheme, an industry spokeswoman said.

The scheme, which came into force on Friday, enables all business ratepayers to apply to their local council to put off three per cent of their whole year’s 2009/2010 business rates bill.

Also, those who accrued a rise in their bill because transitional relief has come to an end can now defer 60 per cent of the increase.

But many car traders are facing real-term increases in rates of up to 30 per cent, said Sue Robinson, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF).

“The deferment is too small to soften the blow for businesses struggling in the face of prevailing economic conditions,” she said.

“Many are actually facing large increases in their rate bills. Following the 2005 rate revaluation many businesses benefited from four years of transitional relief, but this has now to come to an end. For some it means a business rate increase of up to 30 per cent.

“Additionally, the new deferment scheme is only for two years, and although the new regulations are due to take effect from today, local authorities are still not clear how they will work.”