Bidding opens for second round of 100% business rate retention pilots

1 Sep 17

Bidding has started for local councils to take part in a second round of 100% business rate retention pilot schemes.

The Department for Communities and Local Government made the announcement today saying it wanted councils to “join forces” in putting forward proposals.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “By encouraging councils to work together, with the aim of sharing their business rates income, it enables them to take a much more strategic view on decisions that benefit the wider area.

“Expanding the pilot programme is an opportunity to consider how rates retention could operate across the country and we will continue to work closely with local government to agree the best way forward.”

Pilots have already been launched in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, West of England, Cornwall and Greater London in April, which will also continue into next year.

The West Midlands combined authority was part of the first pilots for the scheme, which began this April, ahead of plans to roll out the policy nationwide by 2020.

From April 2018 the new approved pilots across economic areas, which will be announced in December, will be able to retain 100% of the growth in income raised locally through business rates. 

The findings from this tranche of pilots will help Whitehall develop options for local authorities to retain more of the money they raise in the future.

There had been concerns that greater business rate retention for councils had been sidelined after the Conservatives failed to win a majority in the general election as it was absent from the Queen’s Speech.

But today Javid said he was “committed” to the idea.

The DCLG said the proposals from councils will need to promote sustainability and collaborative working to support growth.

Plans between districts and counties who want to pool their business rate will be viewed “more favourably”, according to the government.

Council proposals will be accepted up until 27 October. 

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