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Mon 5th Oct 2015 - Osborne – let local authorities set business rates
Osborne – let local authorities set business rates: Chancellor George Osborne has stated that he will allow councils to set their own business rates and keep all the money they raise in “the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory”. The plan is aimed at revitalising Britain’s high streets by allowing councils to set their own business rates and keep all the money they raise. Osborne said that all the income generated from business rates will be kept by councils instead of being “sent up to Whitehall”. It came in a speech in which Osborne declares that the Tories “are the builders” who are “fighting” for “the working people of Britain”. At present, councils raise £26bn from business but the money is pooled by Whitehall and then redistributed. Osborne said: “I am embarking on the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory. We’re going to allow local government to keep the rates they collect from business. That’s right, all £26bn of business rates will be kept by councils instead of being sent up to Whitehall.” Business rates, which date back to 1601, are currently calculated according to the rental value of the property a company uses. Experts have warned that the system unfairly punishes high street firms with large properties and unfairly benefits online retailers who only need small premises. Osborne added: “Right now, we collect much more in business rates than we give back in the main grant. So we will phase out this local government grant altogether. But we will also give councils extra power and responsibilities for running their communities. The established transfers will be there on day one, but thereafter, all the real growth in revenue will be yours to keep. So this is what our plan means. Attract a business, and you attract more money. Regenerate a high street, and you’ll reap the benefits. Grow your area, and you’ll grow your revenue too.” He said that the Conservatives will “abolish the uniform business rate entirely”. Osborne added: “That’s the single, national tax rate we impose on every council. Any local area will be able to cut business rates as much as they like to win new jobs and generate wealth. The lesson of the last five years, and the victory that followed, is that the future favours the bold. So we’ve got to be the builders, the people with the new ideas. The people open to the new thinking. Ready to listen. Admit where we get it wrong. Accept when others have got it right. The people with the plan for the future. Some stand on the sidelines. Some want to knock things down. But we – we are the builders. And let me tell you who we are building for – the working people of Britain. The millions of people who work hard, provide for their families and pay their taxes for the public services we need. The people who just get on with it.”


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