September 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Community leaders in Felixstowe have agreed to back a new campaign to have a portion of business rates given back to the towns where the tax was paid.
The aim is for town and parish councils to have spending power to pursue projects that could help traders even more – and encourage new enterprises to start.
So far, more than 400 councils, plus the Society of Local Council Clerks, National Association of Local Councils, Association of Town Centre Management and a number of Chamber of Commerces have signed up to the move.
Councillors in Sevenoaks in Kent launched the national campaign, asking councils all over the county to support them in their bid to “end ghost town Britain and create vibrant local communities”. The council is using the 2007 Sustainable Communities Act to ask Government ministers to sanction a return of a portion of business rates “for the benefit of local economic growth”.
Town clerk Linda Larter said: “Most local businesses are quite surprised to know that none of their business rates are returned direct to the council in the town or parish in which they are located and find this most frustrating.
“Local businesses want to contribute towards their local surroundings and community and presume this would be how this was done.”
At this stage the percentage has not been suggested – the bid, though, could bring thousands of pounds.
Felixstowe Town Council has agreed to write a letter in support of the campaign.
Town clerk Gordon Mussett said: “The town council receives no direct financial benefit from the business rates, yet continue to support and enhance the business community through such measures as CCTV, Felixstowe in Flower and support for tourism-related activities.
“A small proportion of the business rates paid directly to the town council may further enable the town council to support the local business community through such measures as funding lower-cost parking, additional events designed to attract trade to the town, and so on.”