Stoke-on-Trent City Council has welcomed news that it’s to be one of only 15 areas nationally to benefit from a new government business rate pilot. The award has been given as a result of successful growth in business rates within Stoke-on-Trent in recent years.

Through the one-year pilot, up to 75 per cent additional business rate revenue generated from business growth in 2019/20 in the city will be retained by the council with government retaining 25 per cent of rates. This compares with 100 per cent that government retains currently.

It is estimated that the pilot would result in £5m of one-off additional funding for the city council, final details of the exact amount are being worked through.

The pilot comes following a successful bid put forward jointly in July 2018 with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Staffordshire Police and 10 other local authorities in the wider geographical area of Staffordshire.

The council will also receive a windfall payment for business rates collected and paid over to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) (previously Department for Communities and Local Government) since 2013/14.

Cllr Abi Brown, deputy leader for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cabinet member for finance and partnerships said: “This bid has been successful because of the growth of business rates in the city. We’ve shown government that Stoke-on-Trent is on the up and that this is a great place to do business.

“More businesses are growing or relocating in Stoke-on-Trent and that’s good news for the city and for the city council. It shows we are a commercial council standing up for business but also masters of our own destiny. The extra funding will go towards meeting our wider financial challenges and providing essential services such as for children in care, for older people or for those with learning disabilities who require social care support.  It’s a win-win situation.”

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “We are taking action to build a fairer, more self-sufficient and resilient future for local government.

“I’m pleased to announce a new series of 75% business rates retention pilots across England, including in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to help run local services.

“These pilots lay the foundation of our ambition to roll out 75% business rates retention across the country from 2020, so every council will have greater financial freedom to invest where they have the greatest need.”

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