In just 3 weeks14 Lancashire Local Authorities have put together a bid to the government to run a business rates pilot scheme that is calculated to increase public spending in the County by £10.8 million.
Leader of Ribble Valley Council Councillor Ken Hind welcomed the bid, ''When we were approached by the government we had 3 weeks to put this together, 14 authorities working together a triumph of cooperation. The Leaders of the Lancashire Councils met and discussed it The fincnace directors of the authorities met together and worked out a formula which then approved by the 14.”
The officer team was led by Ribble Valley Finance Director Jane Pearson. Councils throughout the county met to approve the bid. The Ribble Valley emergency committee met to approve our involvement 10 hours before the bid was submitted.
Taking part are all Lancashire authorities except Lancaster: Lancashire County Council, Blackburn, Blackpool Chorley ,Preston South Ribble,West Lancs, Ribble Valley,Burnley, Hyndburn ,Fylde, Wyre,Hyndburn and Pendle
The application is structured into 3 sections
5% of the fund is put aside to cover all risks from business rate appeals and other issues.
£2.5 million is put into a economic growth and sustainability fund to be distributed by the Council Leaders .In Ribble Valley officers are looking at projects we can submit to the fund which we will press to be included.
The remaining money is proposed to be distributed to all authorities. The 2 tier authorities will share Lancashire County Council will receive 17.5% and the Boroughs and Districts 56%. Ribble Valley share is estimated to be £353,000.which when added to projects from the fund we will be able to do a great deal in the Borough,
As this is a bid it is not guaranteed to be approved but I shall take the opportunity at the Conservative party conference to lobby ministers.on the merits of Lancashire's case.
The pilot is part of the governments plan to end revenue support grant by 2020-21 and give to local authorities 75% of the business rates. instead. It places local authorities in a better position to determine their local income. Ribble Valley has already reorganised its planning and economic departments ,appointed a new director to lead it and created an economic development committee in preparation for this change. We as a council will drive the local economy to create jobs attract new businesses, improve town centres, encourage tourism and increase our revenue to preserve local services for residents.