Derbyshire businesses set for £21m business rates boost

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Derbyshire could benefit from up to £21m extra funding following a successful Government bid which will see the county taking part in a business rates pilot scheme.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid announced Derbyshire’s successful bid to become a 100% Business Rates Retention pilot as part of the local government finance settlement statement in Parliament this week (Tuesday 19 December 2017).

The exact amount of the extra funding is still to be confirmed but the final amount will be used to boost economic growth, support vital services, support infrastructure and promote new development across the county and Derby city.

We led the successful bid on behalf of the county’s eight district and borough councils, Derby City Council and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service − which are all business rates authorities.

The bid was one of only 10 to be successful in this round.

Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said  “This is fantastic news for the county as a whole and will benefit a wide variety of important projects that will make a huge difference to communities and our local economy.”

At the moment all local authorities currently retain 50% of business rates and the Government is looking to move to all local authorities retaining 75% of business rates by 2020-2021 and eventually to 100%.

A number of 100% retention pilot schemes are already running so that the Government can assess how well the scheme works in practice, test it out across a wide range of environments and learn lessons before it is rolled out across the country.

Derbyshire’s successful bid will see all business rates income from all county authorities being ‘pooled’, which will bring the additional ‘one-off’ funding.

Each authority will receive a share of 70% of the total extra money to support their own services, which could include building new homes, bringing back into use existing properties, supporting children’s social care, waste and recycling, promoting tourism and supporting community safety and safe and well checks.

The remaining 30% of the total amount must be used to support economic regeneration across the county and city. The Derby and Derbyshire Authorities Joint Committee for Economic Prosperity will make the decisions on how this money is allocated for individual projects.

Councillor Lewis said: “To be chosen as one of only 10 authorities in this round shows that our bid was very strong.”We obviously welcome the one-off extra funding this will bring, and working with our partners we have an excellent opportunity to see how this scheme will work in practice and what benefits it will bring to the county in the long-term.”

Representatives from each Derbyshire authority will now form a board which will be responsible for guiding and managing the day-to-day running of the pilot.