Changes to Business rates welcomed by Lib Dem Leader Mike Bell

14 Oct 2015
Cllr Mike Bell

Changes to Business rates welcomed by Lib Dem Leader Cllr Mike Bell

Yesterday's announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Government intends to give local councils control of business rates has been welcomed by a local councillor.

Currently, councils collect the tax and send the funds to the Treasury, which then redistributes them. Since 2013 local councils have been able to keep around half the business rates collected.

George Osborne has now announced that from 2020, the Government will return business rates in full to local authorities. In 2015-2016, North Somerset Council expects to collect around £57 million in business rates from local firms. The Government will return just £28 million of that to support local services.

Councillor Mike Bell, the Liberal Democrat Leader on North Somerset Council, said: "Councils and businesses both agree that business rates should be a local tax set by local areas. It is right that all of the money which a business pays in local rates is retained by local councils and this will be a vital boost to investment in infrastructure and public services.

"While this is good news for councils and businesses, local councils will face almost £10 billion of extra costs by 2020, so I hope the government can look at ways to introduce this proposal more quickly."

Under the plans, councils will also be given more freedom to cut business rates to attract new investment and jobs.

Councillor Bell added: "North Somerset is ambitious about attracting new jobs and businesses to Weston. These new powers and incentives will hopefully be an additional spur to council chiefs to take a pro-business approach."