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Council welcomes business rates pilot

Published: Wednesday, 20th December 2017

The Royal Borough has welcomed plans to allow all six Berkshire unitary authorities to take collective control of 100 percent of their business rates.

This will give greater power over spending and increasing investment for local businesses and residents.

The proposal will see the majority of business rates growth collected by each council to go to the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This will ensure there is more local control over funding local important infrastructure.

The remaining finances will be allocated directly to each council to spend according to local priorities. Previously business rates were sent to central government before being divided and allocated back out to councils across the country based on a funding formula. The pilot will be implemented for the 2018/19 financial year.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “I am delighted Berkshire has been selected to take part in this business rates pilot as it will give us as a county, and as a council, more control over how we enhance and develop vital local infrastructure.

“By working together with our partners across Berkshire we will be able to invest efficiently into schemes that truly meet local needs and make the county work better for everyone.

“This will complement the vision embedded in our emerging Borough Local Plan and help us to build a borough for everyone that is well-connected to its neighbours.”

The new pilot was announced yesterday (Tuesday 19 December) by communities secretary Sajid Javid MP.

Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for finance, added: “This business rates pilot gives the financial incentive and the necessary tools to continue with our ambitions for the borough and to make sure that investments into Berkshire’s infrastructure are good value for money and integrate completely.

“I look forward to working closely with our neighbouring councils and the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and using this opportunity to make every investment work for those who live, work and visit the borough and the county.”

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