Community Halls and Sports clubs could be spared increase in Business Rates
Community Halls and Sports clubs could be spared an increase in Business Rates, influenced by feedback I provided to the Resources committee after meeting with local groups that could be affected. The issue is summarised in the letter I sent to all not-for-profit organisations with premises, to arrange to meet with them: Discretionary Business Rates Relief Scheme Jun 15
I am very grateful to all those that spared the time to come and speak with me to discuss how cuts to the Discretionary Business Rates Relief budget would impact on their organisation or club. My aim was to prepare people for the worst whilst hoping that I could influence the proposals and reduce the impact, based on evidence gathered. I also hoped local people would be motivated to take part in the next stage, a proposed consultation on 2 options. Between us I thought we might influence the the final decision.
After meeting local community representatives I wrote to committee members explaining the impact any reduction in the relief scheme would have and the fact that for some clubs and organisations they would fold. It seems my concerns and the fact I had spoken to local groups that would be affected, added to committee members own worries. They told the Portfolio Holder in the Cabinet and the Officers who had recommended the options to save money that they could not support any of the proposals before them. I am told the Officers have been instructed to find alternative ways of making the savings that will not impact on village halls, sports clubs and charities so no option to reduce Discretionary Business Rates is being taken forward from the meeting.
This appears to be good news but I do not want to be complacent. The savings still have to be found and I cannot rule out some local organisations being affected by any revised savings proposals. I plan to attend the next meeting of the Resources committee, to keep up the pressure but, for the time being, this cut has been pushed into the long grass!