Latest Public Sector News

12.10.16

Birmingham backs business rates devolution pilot in West Midlands

Measures to pilot the government’s new business rates devolution scheme in the West Midlands have received the backing of Birmingham city council.

The government is offering combined authorities the chance to pilot complete business rates devolution in 2017-18, before it becomes mandatory in 2019-20.

The other members of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which includes Wolverhampton, Coventry, Dudley, Solihull, Sandwell and Walsall councils, will now need to approve the scheme before it is formally introduced.

Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The government’s reform of local government finance will become a reality sooner rather than later, so our participation in a pilot will give us the opportunity to look at how it works in the West Midlands, and then help shape national thinking about the way the full national scheme will be implemented in due course.

“Just as importantly, it will also facilitate discussions with government about further devolution, again ensuring that Birmingham and the wider West Midlands gets the best deal possible.”

The pilot will take place on a ‘no detriment’ basis, so councils will not suffer a loss of income, but will be able to keep any profits.

The proposals have led to concerns that they could make councils more dependent on local business areas, meaning those in less prosperous areas would suffer a loss of income.

(Image c. Cristian Bortes)

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