Wakefield Council welcomes approval of business rates scheme
Wakefield Council has welcomed news that a combined bid by local authorities to retain most of their business rates growth has been approved by the government.
Success rates pool partners of Wakefield, Bradford, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, and York will be joined by Craven, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Selby and Scarborough councils along with North Yorkshire County Council in a new pilot pool scheme retaining 75 per cent of all business rates growth to go into a combined fund.
Over the next financial year, the expanded pool is predicted to generate £19m of funding, with a third to be retained by the pool and the rest going to member authorities.
The local authorities within the region could stand to gain up to £22.6m, as so-called tariff authorities like Leeds also retain levy amounts which otherwise would be payable to government.
The previous Leeds City Region business rates pool was established five years ago and was approved for the current financial year to trial keeping 100% of the growth in business rates for the member council areas of Bradford, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York. The new bid means that 75% of the business rate growth will be retained.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "It is good news that the bid has been approved. By expanding membership and working together with other local authorities this initiative will help to support future economic growth and development across our district and across the wider North and West Yorkshire area."
The pool funding is used collaboratively on investments and projects to help drive and support regional economic growth. It particularly focuses on reducing digital isolation, inclusive growth, culture, sport and major events, business support, trade and investment and enabling new housing.
Previous investments have included projects supporting and coaching business start-ups and SMEs, those promoting inclusive growth and schemes delivering improved internet connectivity and skills development.
The new expanded pool area has a population of 3.1 million people and an annual economic output of £70.3 billion, with 1.4 million jobs and 137,000 businesses. At almost 4,000 sq. miles it covers 8per cent of England.
For the current financial year the Leeds City Region pool, was able to be part of a pilot to retain 100 per cent of business rates growth for the year. For 2019/20 the percentage able to be retained by pilots is reduced to a maximum of 75 per cent. In preparation for this, the new pilot bid was presented with an expanded membership including more authorities across North Yorkshire.