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Business Rates - Discretionary Rate Relief Fund

Meeting: 27/06/2018 - Policy and Resources Committee (Item 19)

19 Business Rates - Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Sheila Coburn, the Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service, presented her report relating to the Business Rates Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme and the level of Business Rates Discretionary Rate Relief to be awarded to certain defined rate payers within the Borough for 2018/19, 2019/2020 and 2020/21.

 

It was noted that:

 

·  In March 2017, Central Government announced that it would make available a £300m discretionary fund over four years to help Councils support those businesses in their area facing the steepest increases in their Business Rates bill as a result of the 2017 revaluation.  It was left to Councils to determine how the fund should be targeted and administered to support those businesses within their area that were in the greatest need.

 

·  The Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting held on 20 September 2017, gave delegated authority to the Head of Revenues and Benefits to finalise and implement the agreed scheme for 2017/18.

 

·  The funding available for 2017/18 was £287k and the scheme awarded 80% relief of the increase in Business Rates to businesses with a rateable value less than £100k.  The number of businesses that benefitted from the funding was 271 which was more than it was originally thought would qualify.  However, the amount of relief that was awarded was £175k because the increases as a result of the 2017 revaluation were not as significant as the Government had anticipated.

 

·  The funding for 2018/19 and subsequent years of the scheme would reduce considerably: 2018/19 (£140k), 2019/20 (£57k), and 2020/21 (£8k).  It was proposed that relief for 2018/19 and the subsequent two years of the scheme be awarded on a percentage basis to those businesses that qualified in 2017/18 without applications having to be made to avoid delays (Option 2).

 

In response to questions, Mrs Coburn explained that:

 

·  Relief was available to businesses that were in occupation of the premises as at 31 March 2017 and remained in continuous occupation.  The policy approved by the Policy and Resources Committee in September 2017 related to the distribution of funding in 2017/18 only because of uncertainty at that time about the number of businesses affected.  In 2017/18, the scheme awarded 80% relief of the increase in Business Rates to businesses meeting the criteria.  In 2018/19, this would reduce to approximately 50%.

 

·  The Council consulted with the major preceptors in 2017/18 in relation to the proposed funding of the scheme, and they were supportive.

 

·  The scheme was discretionary; there was no requirement for the Council to operate the scheme.  Any unspent funding would need to be returned to Central Government.

 

RESOLVED:  That delegated authority be given to the Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service to distribute the funding made available by Central Government to support those businesses facing the steepest increases in their Business Rates bill as a result of the 2017 revaluation as set out in Option 2 (paragraph 2.2 of the report) for 2018/19 and the subsequent two years of the scheme.

 

Voting:  14 – for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19


 

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