Bid for business rates pool

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Councils in Suffolk have joined forces to ensure money raised from local business rates is 
reinvested in the county.

Eight authorities have submitted a bid to create a ‘Suffolk business rates pool’ to ensure funds amassed through growth in business rates remains in the economy rather than pocketed by the Government.

Council bosses say the county’s businesses pay about £250 million a year in rates and the ability to retain the growth income will ‘generate much needed resources to support local services’.

The amount of financial benefit will become clear by the end of the year.

Suffolk County, St Edmundsbury Borough, Forest Heath and Mid Suffolk District Councils are among those who have lodged the bid.

Cllr Mark Bee, leader of the county council, said the move would give the county more ‘control’ over its future and move away from an ‘over reliance’ on the Government for funding.

He added: “Suffolk is a county with huge economic potential across a range of business sectors so I’m confident that this move will mean more investment in the future.”

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said the pool ensures ‘new money is available to fast track important growth schemes, leveraging money from a range of sources’.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, added: “Everything we do as a council is focused on ensuring that we deliver sustainable growth and the opportunity to pool business rates will enable us to lever more funds into the district so we can continue to support businesses.”