The government might be moving closer to imposing an additional 4% charge on Uniform Business Rates but a think tank has warned that it won’t make much difference to the need for large scale infrastructure improvements.
The Centre for Cities (CfC) has warned that the Supplementary Business Rate (SBR) proposed in the Lyons Review and supported by the publication of the sub national Review of Economic Development & Regeneration in July will not raise enough to support the big projects that towns and cities find so hard to fund.
The levy would be compulsory on all businesses and local Town Halls could decide the rate with a maximum suggested level of 4% of Rateable Value (RV).
At 4p in the £ cities like Manchester could raise £40m per annum and Brighton and Hove would raise over £8.5m p.a. but the Centre for Cities suggest that in practice this would prove to be too high and 2p in the £ is a more likely scenario.
This would be a small contribution towards some of the big infrastructure projects that cities need such as rapid trasnport systems, new road and rail links etc
CfC recommend that if the SBR system comes into being then revenues should be pooled because individual local authorities do not have a large enough tax base to raise significant sums.
Unlike Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) there would be no vote on either the imposition of the levy or what it could be spent on although some form of consultation with businesses is anticipated.
The Federation of Small Businesses and the Confederation of British Industry have both come out against the introduction of SBR.
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