Wakefield Council to review Business Rates Discretionary Relief Scheme

​Date: 15/12/2015
Ref: PR 6137

Wakefield Council is consulting on making changes to its Business Rates Discretionary Relief Scheme for registered charities, community amateur sports clubs and other not-for-profit organisations.

Wakefield Cabinet agreed to the consultation, which is now live on the Council website and runs until 29 January 2016.

Cllr Graham Stokes, the Council's Cabinet member for modern public services, said: "We are considering changing discretionary rate relief and need feedback from the public, businesses and other organisations to help us shape proposals.

"The Council faces big financial challenges and to meet those challenges we have to review our current practices to see where money can be saved, while still supporting those who need our help.

"The business rates relief we give to charities and community groups comes out of money which also has to support other council services."

Cllr Stokes said: "Around £1.2m of discretionary business rates relief is currently provided to organisations in the district. Under the current national rules, Wakefield Council stands 49% of this, the equivalent of £588,000.

"The cost of awarding discretionary rate relief and the impact on local taxpayers has changed following recent business rate reforms. As a result many councils – including Wakefield - are consulting on changes to their discretionary rate relief scheme."

Cllr Stokes added: "I would urge organisations which receive discretionary business rates relief to take part in the consultation – we need to know what you think so we can make sure we are making best use of the money we have available."

No changes will be made immediately and all organisations currently receiving discretionary business rates relief will continue to do so in the coming financial year. Any changes would not be introduced until April 2017 at the earliest to give organisations time to adjust their financial planning.

The consultation is being publicised through Wakefield first, letters direct to organisations currently receiving the relief, through social media and on the Council website at www.wakefield.gov.uk/DRR