Call for northern levy to improve ‘social infrastructure’

26 Apr 19

Northern businesses should pay into a fund to improve the health and wellbeing of local people, a think-tank has urged.

A Northern Powerhouse Community Fund would see businesses in the region contributing 1% of profits, which could be used to tackle homelessness and develop opportunities for young people, according to an IPPR North report out today.

The think-tank called for businesses to be more “civic-minded” and added: “The extent of civic engagement by the private sector remains limited when compared to the nature and severity of issues on the ground.”

IPPR North also suggested that government should allow local authorities and mayoral authorities to levy a 2% business rates premium for “social infrastructure”. The report also urged the government to let combined authorities propose their own taxes on local businesses, which would enable them to fund activities that are additional to their statutory duties.

Report author and research fellow at IPPR North, Jack Hunter, said: “While there are far too many examples of exploitative firms, many northern businesses provide significant value to their area, above and beyond their role as employers and taxpayers.

“We need business to step up. Low pay, declining living standards and climate change mean that business as usual is no longer an option. We need tougher regulations to police the worst excesses of the private sector, but we also need to encourage firms to play a more civic role to ensure a fairer, more prosperous North.

Hunter claimed that this fund would ensure that proceeds of investments made to business through the Northern Powerhouse agenda are shared with everyone across the region. 

Did you enjoy this article?