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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 30 June, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Non Domestic Rates - Revaluation Rate Relief

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To consider and recommend adoption of a new Business Rates Discretionary Policy called Revaluation Rate Relief to support those businesses in Wales most negatively impacted by the postponement of the 2015 Non Domestic Rates revaluation.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet adopts the Revaluation Rate Relief Scheme in accordance with the provisions contained in Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, to supplement the Council’s discretionary rate relief scheme.

2.         That Cabinet resolves to use the Welsh Government grant of up to £153,062 in accordance with the grant conditions.

3.         That Cabinet delegates the operation of the scheme to the Section 151 Officer (or in his absence the Deputy section 151 Officer), in consultation with the Leader as Cabinet Member for Finance.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable the Council to implement the Revaluation Rate Relief Scheme and utilise the Welsh Government grant in accordance with the scheme conditions in support of the local business economy.

Background

2.         As part of the Welsh Government's Business Rate Policy Developments the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport recognises that the postponement of the 2015 NDR revaluation may have an effect on certain types or locations of business ratepayers in the Council’s area. The relief may also be used to meet local economic development priorities

Relevant Issues and Options

3.         The Welsh Government has announced that it will provide a grant of up to £153,062 which the Council has the discretion to allocate for the benefit of those ratepayers detrimentally affected by the postponement of the 2015 NDR revaluation in 2014-15, subject to State Aid limits.

4.         It is intended that this scheme will operate from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 subject to the acceptance by the Council of the associated grant offer. Due to the short timeframe for acceptance this was exercised by the Managing Director using her emergency powers.

5.         The Relief will be for individual local billing authorities to decide to grant in accordance with the provisions contained in section 47 with the Welsh Government reimbursing local authorities for the relief that is provided in line with the guidance at Appendix A.

6.         Due to State Aid requirements, the Scheme will be application based. Local authorities are responsible for providing ratepayers with clear and accessible information on the application process

7.         The technical scheme guidance Revaluation Rate Relief Scheme is broadly detailed in paragraphs 7 a-d below as prepared by the Welsh Government.

8.         Revaluation Rate Relief Scheme

·           The policy broadly gives the local authority the ability to grant discretionary rate relief for the following purposes or a combination of purposes.

Where the local authority is satisfied that businesses in a particular location or geographic area have been negatively impacted by the postponement of the revaluation, it may determine that all businesses in that street or location may be entitled to NDR Relief either by proportion or by a set amount.

Where the local authority is satisfied that businesses in a particular sector or sub-sector have been negatively impacted by the postponement of the revaluation, it may determine that all businesses in that sector may be entitled to NDR Relief either by proportion or by a set amount. [Support may also be focussed at starting-up or growing businesses to meet local economic development priorities]

Where the local authority is satisfied that businesses are employing or creating jobs in line with its local economic strategy and other criteria and are negatively impacted by the postponement of the revaluation, it may determine that those businesses may be entitled to NDR Relief either by proportion or by a set amount. [Evidence of plans to recruit or grow and how the grant will benefit the local authority area must be provided]

The Council may choose to target additional relief to those businesses who are entitled to other NDR rate reliefs.

·           Authorities should determine for themselves how to use this grant, but must comply with the provisions contained in Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 which gives the Council the ability to grant discretionary rate relief where it so determines.

·           As the grant of the relief is discretionary, authorities may choose not to grant the relief if they consider that appropriate, for example where granting the relief would go against the authority’s wider objectives for the local area.

·           Wales Revaluation Relief can be provided in addition to any other relief as well as any hardship or discretionary relief awarded by the local authority. The relief will be applied against the net bill after the other reliefs have been applied. The maximum amount of this relief will be no more than the value of the net rate liability.

9.         Ratepayers that qualify are subject to State Aid de-minimis limits.

10.      The Council must make the business community aware of the scheme through its usual channels.

11.      The grant conditions require the Council to resolve to adopt the discretionary rate relief and confirm their acceptance by authorised signatory.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

13.      The existing revenue budget of the service will be used to cover the cost of introduction, implementation and administration of the scheme.

14.      The scheme should not apply to Welsh/UK Government; Public Authority; the Crown or any similar organisation.

 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      There are no direct climate change implications, however, the council needs to ensure that measures put in place to ensure the scheme is financially sustainable.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      The council will be required to implement the scheme in accordance with the provisions contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and associated Welsh Government Regulations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      Commercial areas may be regenerated and may encourage empty business properties to be brought into occupation and provide security of buildings.

 

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      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. The Welsh Government will transmit the equality implications of the scheme.

 

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

 

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      The final decision on the adoption of the scheme will need to be made by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      Not applicable. 

 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Nigel Smith - Revenues and Benefits Manager

 

Officers Consulted

Alan Jenkins – Head of Finance

 

Responsible Officer:

Siân Davies – Managing Director

 

 

 

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