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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Business Rates Discretionary Policies

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To consider the introduction of two new Business Rates Discretionary Policies to encourage the construction of new properties, the New Developments Scheme (NDS) and the use of long term empty properties, the Open for Business Scheme (OFB) and recommend their adoption. 

Recommendations

1.         Note the details of the two new discretionary rate relief schemes detailed in this report.

2.         Adopt the two new schemes in accordance with the resolution provided by Welsh Government at Appendix E of this report, to supplement the Council’s discretionary rate relief scheme.

3.         That operation of the scheme is delegated to the S151 officer (or Deputy S151officer), in consultation with the Leader as Cabinet Member for Finance

Reasons for the Recommendations

1-3   To enable the Council to resolve to adopt these discretions and confirm their acceptance by authorised signatory to claim the appropriate grant and support the business economy.

Background

2.         As part of the Welsh Government's Business Rate Policy Developments the Minister has introduced two new business rates relief schemes which seek to bring long term empty properties back into use and stimulate construction and development.

3.         It is intended that these schemes will operate from 1st October 2013 subject to the acceptance by the Council of the associated grant offer. Discretions can be back dated to 1 October 2013 if necessary.

New Developments Scheme NDS

4.         The first scheme, the New Developments Scheme (NDS) is for new build schemes and will incentivise new and speculative development.  Details are set out in Appendix A.

 

Open for Business Scheme OFB

 

5.         The second scheme Open for Business Scheme (OFB) is focussed on bringing long-term unoccupied business properties back into use.  Details are set out in Appendix B

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The Welsh Government urge Council’s to adopt these new policies and will fund the schemes by way of a specific grant equal to the relief granted; but without administration costs for the introduction, implementation or administration of either scheme. The grant will be payable when the NDR 3 return is completed by the 31st May and audited by the 30th November.

7.         The terms of the grant are that the LA must provide the following information to support the grant 3 times during the year (31st May, 30th September and 31stJanuary plus the annual report).

·           Numbers of Businesses receiving relief

·           Geographical reference -  town & postcode

·           Type of business (OFB scheme)

·           Amount of Relief provided (by application)

·           Date of 1st occupation and date entitlement ends (OFB scheme)

·           Number of jobs declared on the application form (OFB scheme)

·           Type of premises

·           Area of premises m2

8.         Two model application forms have been provided by the Welsh Government for the schemes these are set out in Appendix C and Appendix D.

9.         The Council must make the business community aware of the schemes through its usual channels.

10.      The grant conditions require the Council to resolve to adopt these discretions confirm their acceptance by authorised signatory as set out in Appendix E.

11.      An Equality Impact Assessment will be made by the Welsh Government and transmitted to the Council in due course.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      The Welsh Government will fund the schemes by way of a specific grant equal to the relief granted, but without administration costs for the introduction, implementation or administration of either scheme.

13.      The revenue budget of the service will be used to cover the cost of introduction, implementation or administration of both schemes.

14.      Neither scheme can apply to Welsh/UK Government; Public Authority; or the Crown.

15.      Individual businesses will need to complete an application form.

16.      The delegation of the administration of the relief should be at officer level in consultation with the relevant cabinet member so that the operation of the schemes will not cause a delay in the collection of the Business Rates.  This is in line with the operation of the scheme for discretionary rate relief

17.      Each application must be dealt with on its own merits, but will follow the guidance set out by the Welsh Government and comply with the resolution made.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

18.      There are no direct climate change implications, however, the council needs to ensure that measures put in place for both schemes are financially sustainable.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.      The council will be required to implement the two schemes in accordance with the provisions contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and with Welsh Government Regulations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.      Empty business properties will be brought into occupation and provide security of buildings.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.      The Welsh Government has indicated that they have consulted in relation to the scheme requirements that they have assessed the equality implications of the schemes.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.      The service objective is to administer the Non Domestic Rates.

Policy Framework and Budget

23.      This is a matter for executive decision by authority of the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.      Consultation has taken place as outlined in the report. 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

25.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Clive Teague

 

Officers Consulted

Nigel Smith - Revenues and Benefits Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

Siân Davies - Director of Resources