Breckland votes to take part in rates retention bid

Breckland Cabinet members voted today (17 October) to join in a Norfolk-wide bid to take part in a ‘100% Business Rates Retention’ government pilot, which is likely to increase the funding available for local services.

Under the current rates retention system, central government retains 50% of the business rates collected, with the remainder going to local authorities. If their bid is successful, Norfolk authorities will retain the government share in the pilot year - currently estimated at around £10m for Norfolk - but would forgo receipt of their usual annual government settlements*

The scheme is currently being piloted in a number of single tier authorities in the 2017-18 financial year. However, business rates arrangements for counties with a two-tier structure (i.e. with county and district councils) differ and these authorities are now being invited to submit bids to join the 2018-19 pilot.

Cllr Phillip Cowen, Breckland Council Executive Member for Finance said: “Our forecasts indicate that being part of this one-year pilot will be financially beneficial to the council and Norfolk as a whole, and that the additional income will more than compensate for the loss of our other support grants. This can then be invested in services for residents.

“Breckland has always had an innovative and commercial approach, which has kept council tax low, so we are keen to be part of this exciting pilot project which is likely to herald a new approach to local government funding.”

The single and two-tier pilots will enable central government to test and learn from the governance and administration arrangements put in place in the pilot areas.

Norfolk authorities hope to be part of the pilot bid, and reports are currently going to their respective committee processes. To date Broadland, North Norfolk and Norfolk County Councils have voted to explore the pilot and Kings Lynn, South Norfolk, Norwich and Great Yarmouth Councils have yet to consider the reports.

Bids must be submitted by 27th October 2017 and it is expected that the successful authorities will be notified in December 2017

Breckland Council

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