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Retention of business rates could provide much needed infrastructure boosts

Date: 3/6/2016

The recent Queen's Speech confirmed the government's desire to legislate to devolve the full £26 billion of local business rates income to councils; giving LAs  powers to not only hold to on to the money, but also reduce rates to attract businesses.

Planning magazine reports that the forthcoming legislation has raised the question of whether this could incentivise some planning authorities to plan more proactively for the development of employment space.

"The simple answer to that question is yes,"  Mike Kiely, Chair of the Board of the Planning Officers Society, told Planning. "The ability to deliver employment space could be increased, particularly as in many areas the biggest obstacle lies in levying the funding for the infrastructure needed to allow development."

John Silvester, the POS Communications Manager, told a reporter that business rates had been retained by local councils in Germany for decades and that this had been used by councils to attract new businesses and provide much needed infrastructure boosts, which for one town included new roads, swimming pools and public art.

mike-kiely-pos.jpg Mike Kiely  JDS260914_web.jpg John Silvester

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