Dan Peters 03 June 2019

Government pays £15m to councils after business rate 'error'

Government pays £15m to councils after business rate error  image

The Government may have to pay out up to £15m to councils after it made yet another error in its business rate pilot administration.

It admitted it will be making ‘special payments to a number of local authorities’ after making the same error in the formula that prompted it to order a review last year.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) permanent secretary Melanie Dawes said considering former Valuation Office Agency chief executive Andrew Hudson has carried out a review into the department’s oversight of the business rates system in 2018 it was ‘all the more disappointing that the incorrect formula in the guidance note, which originated from the computation error, which was discovered last year, was not corrected before that guidance note was reissued’.

Ms Dawes said the ministry was ‘looking into the precise circumstances of how this happened’ and she had now decided to ‘accelerate and widen’ a post-implementation review of the Hudson review.

In a letter to auditor general Amyas Morse, Ms Dawes said she would commission a ‘broader review, for which we intend to appoint external advisers’.

The letter read: ‘This year, there has been no mistake in any of the calculations, nor any payments, relating to the business rates pilots.

'However, as last year’s error was corrected for, officials failed to update the relevant guidance note.

'As a result the NNDR1 [national non-domestic rates] guidance note for the financial year 2019/20, which was issued to local authorities on 17 December 2018, contained the same error in the same formula.

‘The incorrect formula has the impact of exaggerating the forecast benefit of participating in a pilot.

‘Given that the financial year has already started, and particularly since the error in the guidance repeats the same mistake as last year, the secretary of state has exceptionally decided to offer a goodwill payment to those councils that used the incorrect guidance for their financial planning in 2019/20 and where the consequences of doing so could be more difficult to mitigate.’

Highways jobs

Senior Manager – Older Adults – Residential Care

Cumbria County Council
£68,709 - £71,218
This pivotal role requires leadership and management of the Council's twenty in house Residential Care services Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Interim Head of Housing and Regulatory Services

Tile Hill
£400-800 per day
Interim Head of Housing role working with an award winning council in the North West. North West
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recuriter: Newport City Council

Assistant Director – Digital & Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Wigan Council
Competitive Salary
The next phase of our digital journey must also reflect the ambitions across our organisations to drive forward at pace our agendas Wigan, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Wigan Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine