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Business Rates Pilot offers Eden District Council £465,000 to deliver Government objectives

Eden District Council could be set to benefit from an additional £465,000 by participating with other Cumbrian councils in a bid to Government to be part of a pilot 100% Business Rates Retention Scheme (BRRS) in 2018/2019.

Councillors last night (12 October 2017) agreed in principle to support a BRRS pilot bid for Cumbria which would be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as part of new scheme that they have for split tier areas (ones with a County Council and District Councils).

This could see Eden District Council benefit from an additional £465,000 in funding if the pilot bid is accepted. Any Cumbria bid would have to show that the additional money is being used to promote financial stability and to support services where financial pressures are in place.

Under the BRRS pilot, Eden District Council could receive up to £970,000 in 2018/19, but by taking part in the scheme would lose its other Government funding of £87,000 Revenue Support Grant and £418,000 Rural Services Delivery Grant, but this income DCLG have assured the Council will be reimbursed if the pilot scheme bid is successful.

Eden District Council’s Leader, Councillor Kevin Beaty, said: “Submitting a BID to Government for Cumbria to be part of a 100% BRRS pilot could have a welcome financial boost for Eden District and wider Cumbria, with a possible £18.2m gain overall for the County to support local services. Eden District has already benefitted from £356,000 from the current 50% BRRS scheme which the Council used initially to support economic development.

“There is political support in Cumbria for a 100% BRRS pilot bid from the County to the DCLG. We recognise that this will be a competitive countrywide process and the Council’s Director of Finance, Clive Howey, will now agree the governance arrangements of any bid when it is finalised on Eden’s behalf and report back to Council if the Cumbria bid is successful.”

Under BRRS schemes, billing authorities, such as Eden District Council, receive a proportion of Business Rates as part of their Government funding. If a Government-set target is exceeded, the Billing Authority receives additional income. Councils can reduce some of the amount they pay to Central Government if they pool locally: Eden currently does this with other Cumbrian districts and the County Council. However, central Government still takes the largest share of Business Rates income.

Since 2014/15 up to 2016/17, Eden District Council has received £356,000 from being part of the Cumbria BRRS pool. Part of this money has been used to support economic development projects outlined below:

  • Contributed £150,000 to the pinch point works for the road and roundabout improvements on the access into the Gilwilly Industrial Estate and on Ullswater Road to help improve traffic flow around Penrith;
  • An agreement with Cumbria Chamber of Commerce to provide dedicated business start-up and development support for Eden Businesses;
  • Developed a Masterplan alongside Askham Bryan College aimed at attracting inward investment onto the site to link in with the high quality courses they offer Newton Rigg, near Penrith;
  • Employing a dedicated Business and Marketing Officer to lead on developing the Invest in Eden Website and helping to set up bespoke training sessions for businesses in Upper Eden;
  • Contributed to the employment of a Conservation Officer for in Alston who is assisting with the area’s Townscape Heritage Initiative Project worth more than £1m;
  • Set up the new business hub at Kirkby Stephen Business Park and fund a dedicated business advisor.

Eden District Council is the billing authority for business rates. If a business owner has concerns about a property’s rateable value, please contact the Valuation Office by calling 03000 501501, or visit: www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates.

For more information about Eden District Council, visit www.eden.gov.uk, or call 01768 817817, or find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

ENDS