To update Members on the introduction of schemes to support businesses following the national revaluation which came into place on 1 April 2017, and seek approval for the implementation of the government schemes and a Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Scheme, to support businesses that face increases in their business rates bills as a result of the revaluation (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which updated members on the introduction of schemes to support businesses following the national revaluation which came into place on 1 April 2017, and sought approval for the implementation of the government schemes and a Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Scheme to support businesses that faced increases in their business rates bills as a result of the revaluation.
Members were advised that the scheme would only run for three years, after which businesses would have to pay the full bill themselves. Funding for all authorities was front loaded with 50% of the funding to be used in year one with a steep decline in the amount available in the subsequent two years. There was currently no option to carry monies forward from one year to the next.
It was also stated that national businesses were not excluded from the scheme however, some would naturally drop out of eligibility due to the State Aid Scheme. It was requested that the number of national businesses that did drop out of the scheme be monitored.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:
a) That the Locally Administered Business Rates Relief scheme, which would limit the increase in 2017/18 business rates bills to £600 for businesses with a Rateable Value of less than or equal to £100,000 be approved;
b) That delegated authority to the Section 151 Officer, in conjunction with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, to review and revise the scheme to ensure the Council maximises support to businesses to the extent of funding provided, including provision for exceptional hardship on individual cases, and to determine the level of relief for each year of the scheme, be approved.
c) That the supporting Small Business Relief (SSBR) scheme, to be operated under the Council’s discretionary powers in line with government guidance be approved; and
d) The Support for Pubs scheme, to be operated under the Council’s discretionary powers, in line with government guidance be approved.
(Other options considered:
· Award rate relief to ratepayers in proportion to the % increase in the amount of rates payable in 2017/18, after all reliefs have been applied and where the Rateable Value is less than or equal to £100,000;
· Limit the increase after all other reliefs have been applied, and with a Rateable Value less than or equal to £100,000, to 4%
Reasons for decision:
· The funding provided allows South Holland to provide a simple to understand scheme that provides support to ratepayers in 2017/18 who are facing increases in their rates bills because of revaluation, at the same time providing for a contingency in the fund which could be used to extend or expand the scheme, including case by case applications from businesses who as a direct result of the revaluation are facing hardship
· The delegation of authority will provide for an efficient review and revision process against scheme expenditure, and to determine the level of relief for 2018/19 and future years subject to scheme funding in order to apply to annual bills;
· No business type or ratepayer will be excluded as it is recognised that both national and local businesses contribute to the prosperity and local employment within the district.)