Council seeks licensing reforms to clamp down on unpaid business rates

West Suffolk House ENGANL00120130105142248
West Suffolk House ENGANL00120130105142248

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is lobbying the Government to shake-up licensing rules to prevent business rate payers running up huge unpaid bills.

The authority has joined three others including Forest Heath and Breckland in calling on MPs and the Local Government Association for the reforms to allow them to suspend a premises licence to provide alcohol and entertainment if business rates are not paid.

The move emerged as leading St Edmundsbury councillors in the cabinet were recommended to write-off 10 accounts for business rates totalling £110,566.60.

Cllr David Ray, cabinet member for resources, said: “Most businesses pay their rates and we will work with them to try and avoid getting behind.

“Even without the licensing changes we will continue to pursue all unpaid bills but the changes would certainly help ensure the same standard for everyone.”