Business rates to be retained locally

At the LGA conference we heard from Nick Clegg that business rates will be retained locally rather than going to central government as they are now. Interestingly, he looked nervous and spoke poorly. I heard the comment “dead man walking” which had a ring to it.

In theory this should be very good for Cambridgeshire, retaining business rates not Nick being a deadman walking. (hmmm). If we can hang on to these business rates we can use them to invest to promote business. More business, more business rates. It rewards councils who succeed.

Of course the reality is our central grant will be cut, at the outset, so to see the benefits we will have to work hard, a challenge I relish.

So what could possibly go wrong? Well, Nick Clegg said it might not come in for three years, which seems a long time. Worse, Lib Dems can’t help themselves. He signalled it would be distributed centrally which sort of suggests a series of floors and ceilings to make sure their are no losers. If their are no losers then it makes being a winner so much harder. Take this to its conclusion and we end up with the current grant formula.

Life isn’t fair, let’s support success for the good of all.

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