Full business rates available for fracking councils
Fracking could see councils keep up to £1.7m extra a year in business rates, the government says.
Those councils that back fracking would receive all business rates collected from shale gas schemes, rather than the standard 50%, prime minister David Cameron has announced.
But a spokesperson for the LGA said: “Given the significant tax breaks being proposed to drive forward the development of shale gas and the impact drilling will have on local communities, these areas should not be short-changed by fracking schemes. One percent of gross revenues distributed locally is not good enough; returns should be more in line with payments across the rest of the world and be set at 10%.
“The community benefits of fracking should be enshrined in law, so companies cannot withdraw them to the detriment of local people.”
The British Geological Survey has estimated that there are about 1,300 trillion cubic feet (40 trillion cubic metres) of shale gas present in the north of England, but the process of extracting this gas is controversial and has attracted protests from environmental campaigners.
The projects will support 74,000 jobs and help to reduce bills, Cameron stated.
Cameron said: “A key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future is to back businesses with better infrastructure. That's why we're going all out for shale. It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country.”
But Jane Thomas, Friends of the Earth senior campaigner, said: “This latest government move highlights the depth of local opposition to fracking and the desperate lengths ministers are prepared to go to overcome it.
“This move raises potentially serious concerns about conflicts of interest, if councils that benefit from this money are also the ones who decide on planning applications from fracking firms in the first place.
“The government should be encouraging the development of Britain’s huge renewable power potential, instead of coming up with new incentives that keep the nation hooked on climate-changing fossil fuels.”
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