January 22, 2015
£2million business rates boost welcomed in Burnham-On-Sea area

A new scheme which could see up to £2million in business rates being retained to boost the local economy across Somerset has been approved by the Government and welcomed by local business leaders.

Westminster has given the go ahead for the creation of the Somerset Business Rates Pool as part of its recent Local Government Settlement.

This Pool consists of Somerset County Council, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and North Somerset Unitary councils, Mendip, Sedgemoor and South Somerset District councils, and Taunton Deane Borough Council – a continuous geographic area centring on the ceremonial shire county of Somerset, with a combined population of over 900,000.

It is believed that the Pool has the potential to ensure a further £2million of Business Rates is retained locally, to be shared between the member councils. This will encourage closer working on the management of business rates between the partners.

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, and Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: "This new Pool marks the forging of economic and community ties across Somerset and beyond – from Bath to Bridgwater and Burnham; the Somerset Levels, to Nailsea and Yeovil. That this scheme has received full approval from Government is brilliant news. This is a practical step that will spur our authorities on in driving economic growth in our region."

A Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade spokesman said: "We have long argued that business rates paid by local firms should be kept in the Burnham area to benefit the town. We therefore welcome this scheme, and look forward to further information about how the local funding will be used in our area."

The rationale for the Somerset Business Rates Pool is to encourage economic growth, therefore Pool members are committed to using the additional business rates resource to promote further growth in the local economy.

Alison Turner, Group Manager Finance at Sedgemoor, said: "Councils collect business rates within their district/area, however this council can only retain 50% of the income collected over the baseline set by the government. The other 50% is paid over to the Government. In the Somerset business rates pool, the pool members collectively only have to pay over a levy of 7.54% with the remaining amount shared between the pool members keeping the income locally."


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