In last week's Local Government Finance Settlement, it was announced that we will be part of a second wave of councils to be involved in the new business rate retention pilot.
Hertfordshire County Council joined together with us and nine other district and borough councils and applied to be a Business Rates Retention Pilot area earlier this year. As a result of the successful application, Hertfordshire’s local authorities will now keep 75 per cent of growth of local business rates, estimated to be worth £11.3 million. Usually, 50 per cent of business rates growth would go to central government.
Being part of the pilot gives the 11 Hertfordshire councils a year’s head start in preparing for the national roll-out of business rates retention policies, which are expected to be applied to all English local councils from April 2020.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Being accepted into the pilot means that we are keeping an additional 25 per cent of the growth of business rates within the county. This is expected to equate to an additional £11.3m, which will be used to fund public services across Hertfordshire.
“Being one of 15 successful pilot applications is an endorsement of the strong partnership working we have across local government in Hertfordshire.”
The settlement, which also sets out the allocation of central government funding for county council services, was delayed due to the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Hertfordshire County Council has recently consulted residents on how it should spend its budget and the amount that Council Tax is set at next year will be agreed by the Council in February 2019.
David Williams continued: “We are committed to finding innovative ways of getting the best value for residents’ money and are working more closely than ever before with our public sector partners to achieve this.
“This pilot will provide us with a greater opportunity to support local businesses and invest in local growth, not least by allowing us to retain more of the benefits arising from future economic growth within the county.”