Council loses rebate from business ratesBy Lucy Allen
January 29, 2009
Councils will miss out on thousands of pounds while a Government scheme is put on hold.
The Local Authority Business Growth Incentive Scheme, or LAGBI, gives councils back some of the money they have collected in business rates.
In 2005, Bracknell Forest Council received £688,462 from the scheme.
In 2006, the figure was £907,542 and in 2007 the amount was £447,623.
But the Department for Communities and Local Government has admitted there will be no money forthcoming for 2008.
This is because the Government has been consulting on the scheme and is currently considering the responses to that consultation.
If the scheme is continued after the consultation, the
next payout will be for the 2009/10 financial year – and that payout is likely to be much smaller than those in previous years.
Council leader Paul Bettison said: “The trouble is we work our tails off and jump through hoops to get this money.
“Then suddenly, on the whim of a Government minister, it is all gone.”
Last year, as part of its Keep Trade Local manifesto, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called for the scheme to be continued and the amount of money give out to be maintained.
However, the FSB also called for the money to be ring-fenced so that councils have to put it towards economic growth.
Sandy Lovett, from the Thames Valley office of the FSB, said: “We have some concerns over the way councils have handled previous LABGI awards.
“They have just used the money as revenue when it could have been put into capital projects.
“It should be used to enhance the economy of the locality.
“If you improve parking or create a cultural centre in a town, then people will use other businesses in the process.”
To support Keep Trade Local, log on to www.fsb.org.uk
Are you affected - Use our comment facility below to share your views.