Mark Whitehead 22 February 2019

Counties call for full baseline reset of business rates in 2020

County councillors have called for a review of the business rates system including the tax paid by large retailers.

The County Councils Network (CCN) says it welcomes the 75% business rate retention planned by the Government to start next year.

But it says a 'full baseline reset' is needed, including further devolution of tax collecting powers, as part of the long-term funding of local government.

CCN claims counties have not benefited from the move towards 50% retention of business rates as much as other types of authority, with those near major transport routes or large conurbations gaining more than more rural areas.

Nick Rushton, finance spokesman for CCN and leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: 'The government’s aim is to reset the dial on local government funding from next year, with the introduction of a fairer funding formula to fix a broken system, and greater fiscal autonomy through increased business rate repatriation.

'With some councils benefitting excessively from business rate retention, the only way to effectively do this is for a full baseline reset to take place in 2020 – with phased reset after this point – to create a fair distribution of rates as the new finance system comes in.

'It is also imperative that the Government outlines in a default national tier split between county councils and district councils.'

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