By Diana Sterck

Did you know that the Government is currently consulting on the 100% retention of business rates by local authorities? Currently, although Local Authorities collect most of the business rates, they then send the money back to Central Government and get some of it back as grant funding to spend on key local services and priorities.

The aim is to devolve business rates in full by 2019, a fundamental shift for how local authorities are funded (the balance of their income will come from Council Tax revenues).

Key facts:
• Pilots currently being run in Greater Manchester & Liverpool
• Small business rate relief was permanently doubled in the 2016 budget to 100%
• Overall costs should not go up (balance of valuations and uniform business rate)

The Governments aim for devolution is for localities to:
1. Build on local strengths, for example using multi agency services to offer better value for money
2. Support the drive for local economic growth – i.e. skills, jobs and infrastructure
3. Improve outcomes for local people

So what could this mean for local businesses? Because there is a revaluation of business rates effective from April 2017, the Government is required to reset the business rates multiplier (or uniform business rate) to ensure no more is raised through business rates.

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