Green, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, presented
a report to the Committee on the outcome of Maidstone Borough
Council’s application to become part of the Kent Business
Rates Retention Pilot in 2018/19. The Committee noted
·Kent District Councils, Medway Council and Kent
County Council had submitted a successful joint bid to Central
Government to retain 100% of the growth of the Business Rates pool
in Kent for 2018/19.
·The retained Business Rates growth for each
authority would be split into two funding pots. 70% of the funding
would be distributed to precepting
authorities in the form of a Financial Sustainability Fund (FSF).
The remaining 30% would be assigned to a Housing and Commercial
·Maidstone Borough Council was projected to receive
£640,000 under the FSF for 2018/19 only, with no guarantee of
the pilot being extended for future years.
·The report proposed that as the FSF was a one off
sum, the funding be used to support one off projects that would
provide longer term benefits. For example investing in capital
items as well as revenue projects that had the potential to
leverage in funding from other sources.
·As well as the £640,000 FSF payment, Maidstone
Borough Council would have an opportunity to secure local
investments from the Housing and Commercial Growth Fund for the
North Kent Cluster which was worth a projected £3.2
response to questions from the Committee, Mr Green confirmed the
·The general principles of the types of projects
under consideration for funding were what was being agreed at this stage, and that a list of
specific projects was due to be considered at a future Policy and
Resources Committee meeting.
·The principles around the distribution of the
Housing and Commercial Growth Fund had not yet been agreed by the
North Kent Cluster as the governance arrangements of this element
of the scheme were not part of the bid to Central
·The funding provided by the 100% Business Rates
growth retention pilot bid was intended to be used to mitigate the
effect of economic growth in the borough, therefore to use this
funding to limit Council Tax increases would be contrary to the bid
that had been submitted to Central Government.
1.The Committee notes that Kent and Medway have been
selected to carry out a 100% business rates retention pilot in
2.Preliminary estimates indicating that Maidstone
Borough Council may receive an additional £640,000 in
Business Rates income in 2018/19 as a consequence is
3.The following parameters for the allocation of the
additional Business Rates income in the 2018/19 budget are
Optimising impact of FSF expenditure
to achieve maximum impact from the FSF, it is proposed that it is
focused on a small number of discrete projects, distinct from
existing agreed revenue and capital expenditure. A greater number of projects would risk spreading
management input into individual projects too thinly, and would
lead to relatively small budgets for each project, thus limiting
their potential to make an impact.
Alignment with strategic objectives
projects will respond to the Council’s corporate
priorities. In general, therefore, they
will promote social, economic and environmental wellbeing. They are
likely to relate to one or more of the three action areas – A
Home for Everyone, Town Centre Regeneration and Clean and
Safe. They must also be consistent with
relevant Council strategies such as the Economic Development
Strategy. Performance against corporate
priorities is evaluated regularly through public engagement,
eg through Resident Surveys, so it
would be appropriate to consider projects that residents are likely
to see as improving their quality of life.
Leveraging benefit of expenditure
FSF provides a relatively limited sum of money, and is only
available on a one-off basis.
Accordingly, it is important that any investment of the FSF
exploits the opportunities for leveraging additional income, either
by creating a future income stream or by attracting a matching
contribution in cash or through partnership working, eg with external organisations like central
government or Kent County Council.
Identification and sign-off of projects
Officers will develop more detailed proposals for investment of
the FSF. Further information will be
contained in the budget proposals for consideration by this
Committee at its meeting on 14 February. A process will be set out in this report for