Menu

West Berkshire joins Business Rates Retention Pilot

20 December 2017: West Berkshire joins Business Retention Rates Pilot
(I think this should have read ‘…Business Rates Retention…’)

West Berkshire Council is delighted by the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that the whole Berkshire area will be included in the 100% business rates retention pilot.

Allowing West Berkshire to retain the business rates could mean a financial boost to West Berkshire of up to £2 million.

Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council said: “This decision is most welcome. At a time when all councils are becoming increasing cash strapped, the business rates will provide a much needed boost to West Berkshire’s finances. We are now in a position to firm up budget plans in the New Year and look forward to using this cash injection to support our services and as a solid base on which to build and strengthen economic development in our district.”

20 December 2017: My email to West Berkshire Council

Thanks for the press release above. A few things confuse me.

First, the figure by which West Berkshire will benefit is ‘up to £2m’. I understand that about £85m is currently raised in business rates in the WBC area and about £19m is retained. The difference between these two figures is not £2m; and £2m is far from being the ‘100% retention’ stated in the article.

Second, the scheme is a ‘pilot’ and so I presume temporary. When will this start and for how long will it run? Do you know what other councils are involved? I believe that the plan is for this change of funding to be operating nationally by 2019-20. Is that still the intention, so far as you’re aware?

Third, it seems inconceivable that the government will allocate extra funds without either clawing back others or expecting councils to undertake additional services. Do you have any views on this?

Finally, if the scheme is a ‘pilot’ and thus perhaps temporary and if the benefit involved is going to be only £2m, it’s hard to see how this will lead to the certainty Graham Jones suggests. If an increasing amount of a council’s funding is to come from business rates, as I understand to be the plan, and as these can vary for reasons beyond the council’s control, this would seem to make the long-term outlook less certain rather than more. As for the area’s needs, if there is a relationship between the amount of business rates a council is able to levy and the demand for things such as social care, it’s probably an inverse one. Do you have any idea how these discrepancies will be resolved?

I appreciate that some of these questions involve speculation or concern national issues but I’d appreciate any light you can shed on this. I may have failed to grasp some important and positive point about this scheme. I would love to be able to write something positive about this announcement but at present I can neither understand the figures nor see how this is likely to benefit the people who most need the essential services that you and other councils provide.

Regards,

Brian Quinn

April 2018  update: a meeting has been arranged between Penny Post and WBC Council Leader Graham Jones in order for him to explain the pilot scheme in more detail and, in general, his hopes about how the new funding structure for local councils will operate after 2020. This is expected to take place in May 2018 and we’ll provide a report on this as soon as possible thereafter. Penny Post would like to stress that the delay in following this matter up since the above letter to WBC was sent has in no way been due to any reluctance on the part of Graham Jones or WBC to discuss the matter.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coverage Area

What's On

Feb
22
Fri
2019
9:00 am Dance Fusion Half Term Dance Wor... @ Eddie Catz
Dance Fusion Half Term Dance Wor... @ Eddie Catz
Feb 22 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Dance Fusion Half Term Dance Workshop @ Eddie Catz | England | United Kingdom
For 3‐12yrs (drop off) We will be running an exciting workshop this term, at Eddie Catz Newbury. STREET DANCE, CHEER‐LEADING AND STUNTS MASTER CLASS The workshops include a variety of dance, singing, drama and crafts offering a little something for all ages and abilities! Bookings £40 per Child ‐ includes hot lunch and snack
9:30 am Shefford Craft Group @ Great Shefford Village Hall
Shefford Craft Group @ Great Shefford Village Hall
Feb 22 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Shefford Craft Group @ Great Shefford Village Hall | Great Shefford | England | United Kingdom
Everyone welcome regardless of ability to these
10:00 am Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield L... @ Burghfield Library
Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield L... @ Burghfield Library
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield Library @ Burghfield Library | Burghfield Common | England | United Kingdom
Book and DVD sale  Monday 18 –
10:00 am Craft & Chat @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library
Craft & Chat @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Craft & Chat @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library | England | United Kingdom
Craft & Chat Every Friday. 10.00am-12.00pm at
10:00 am French Twinning Exhibition @ Hun... @ Hungerford Library
French Twinning Exhibition @ Hun... @ Hungerford Library
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
French Twinning Exhibition @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library | England | United Kingdom
On Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February,
10:00 am Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for ... @ Swindon MECA
Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for ... @ Swindon MECA
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for Halfterm @ Swindon MECA | England | United Kingdom
Monday 18th – Friday 22nd February 2019
10:30 am Family History Sessions @ Newbur... @ Newbury Library
Family History Sessions @ Newbur... @ Newbury Library
Feb 22 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Family History Sessions @ Newbury Library @ Newbury Library | England | United Kingdom
Family History Sessions Friday mornings at Newbury
10:45 am Play Bridge @ Theale Library @ Theale Library
Play Bridge @ Theale Library @ Theale Library
Feb 22 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
Play Bridge @ Theale Library @ Theale Library | Theale | England | United Kingdom
Play Bridge Beginners and experienced players welcome,
11:00 am Storytime and Craft @ Newbury Li... @ Newbury Library
Storytime and Craft @ Newbury Li... @ Newbury Library
Feb 22 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Storytime and Craft @ Newbury Library @ Newbury Library | England | United Kingdom
Storytime and craft Join staff from the
2:00 pm Carnival fun @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library
Carnival fun @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library
Feb 22 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Carnival fun @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library | England | United Kingdom
Carnival fun! (For 5-11 years) Join us