Within the NABMA Support Plan for Market we are again reiterating that help is urgently required on the issue of business rates. Our Survey results are clearly indicating how important this measure would be to local authorities.
Yesterday, within the Retail Markets Forum, hosted by government, reassurance was again provided that serious consideration will be given to this matter in the forthcoming review of business rates.
Already the LGA have advised NABMA that the terms of reference of the Business Rates Fundamental Review have been published. It includes reference to reliefs. The LGA contact confirmed that “We are meeting with the Treasury team carrying out the review in a few weeks’ time. I am drawing up a list of issues to raise with them and I will include giving LA’s the right to give relief on their own property, particularly markets”.
Given the Chancellor has announced the abolition of business rates for many businesses then NABMA is ramping up its lobbying for local authority markets to enjoy the benefits of this measure. At the moment, because of restrictions in the local authority finance legislation, a local authority cannot grant a concession to itself on business rates. This means that struggling local authority markets continue to suffer from the burden of business rates. In comparison, private markets can take advantage of the benefit. We need the government to extend relief to local authority markets. We understand that public conveniences currently benefit from the concession, but not markets. It is stressed that the relief must be applied to all precepting authorities, that includes parish, town and community councils – and be a statutory measure, not by application. Markets operated under charitable trusts must also be beneficiaries.
NABMA looks forward to ongoing discussions with government on this important matter and will update NABMA members accordingly.