Blackpool joins bid for Government business rates pilot scheme

Coun Ken Hind
Coun Ken Hind

Lancashire councils could benefit to the tune of £10.8m if they are successful in a joint bid to join a Government business rates pilot scheme.

The local authorities have grouped together to put Lancashire’s case to Whitehall, with only Lancaster opting out.

The 14 other councils, including LCC and the unitary authorities of Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen have submittted an application which one council leader described as “a triumph of co-operation.”

Coun Ken Hind, from Ribble Valley Council, greeted the joint bid saying: “When we were approached by the government we had three weeks to put this together - 14 authorities working together a triumph of cooperation. The leaders of the Lancashire councils met and discussed it. The finance directors of the authorities met together and worked out a formula which was then approved by the 14.”

In addition to LCC, Blackburn and Blackpool, the bid is being supported Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancs, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Hyndburn, Fylde, Wyre, Hyndburn and Pendle.

The pilot is part of the Government’s plan to end revenue support grant by 2020-21 and give local authorities 75 per cent of the business rates instead.

It places councils in a better position to determine their local income.

Five per cent of the fund is put aside to cover all risks from business rate appeals and other issues.

£2.5m would be put into an economic growth and sustainability fund to be distributed by council leaders.

The remaining money will be distributed to all authorities.