Broadland District Council to consider new business rate discounts scheme

PUBLISHED: 16:25 30 May 2018

Broadland District Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Broadland District Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Businesses in Broadland could be in line for rate discounts, if councillors agree to proposals next week.

Members of Broadland District Council’s cabinet will decide on Tuesday whether to introduce a new scheme of discounts for businesses in the district.

If approved, the council will be able to offer reduced rates for businesses either looking to move into empty units in the area, or for existing businesses looking to expand.

A report to be presented to cabinet members says the council runs the risk of losing potential new businesses if it does not introduce the scheme.

It says: “If this scheme is not implemented it may lead to businesses choosing to location in areas other than Broadland.”

However, it also says: “There is a cost to the council in offering this discount. It is therefore important that it is managed carefully and only allowed in circumstances which are in the interests of our council tax payers.”

The scheme would see Broadland follow in the footsteps of South Norfolk Council and Waveney District Council, both of which already offer discretionary discount schemes.

The report adds: “The other Norfolk districts do not replicate this scheme, but some of them do have enterprise zones which offer government-funded business rate discounts.

“The introduction of a discount scheme in Broadland would complement that of SNC in attracting businesses to our respective areas.”

The scheme would see council officers in the economic development team identifying businesses that may benefit from the discount, with the department also assessing individual cases.

Among the conditions that would be taken into consideration when awarding a discount are:

• Whether a discount would lead to an increase in local employment.

• Whether a discount would result in an empty unit being occupied.

• Whether a discount would lead to other benefits or regeneration locally.

• Whether the ratepayer would help to establish a hub and attract other businesses to the area.

Discounts would also only be awarded for a fixed period - less than a year.

The cabinet will decide on whether to approve the proposal on Tuesday, June 5.

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