Top councillor backs business rates change

Hayling Island Lions member Rod Elliott outside Tesco, Station Road, Hayling Island

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A LEADING councillor says he is delighted that a plan drawn up as part of a devolution bid for councils in Hampshire will now become national policy.

As part of devolution bids submitted to government, councils in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said they would like to see business rates money stay locally.

Yesterday Chancellor George Osborne announced that from 2020, how business rates are paid out will change.

Under the new system, rather than handing over business rates to Whitehall to be redistributed to town halls in grants, local authorities will be able to keep 100 per cent of the cash they raise from local companies.

It has raised hopes among the devolution bid team that it will pave the way to Hampshire’s councils being given more powers soon.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘It’s one of our biggest ideas, it’s a great idea and I’m glad it’s being rolled out nationally. At the moment there’s no incentive for councils to attract businesses in.

‘Councils collect the money, send it on to the government, who then redistribute it. With these changes and money staying locally, it will encourage councils to encourage growth in their area and know money raised will stay local.’