How councils can reshape the future of high streets
Local authorities—many of whom are landlords — now have a unique opportunity to regenerate and transform our high streets for the future, say Andrew Knowles and Leena Gillespie.
The business rates system needs to go
Today is the deadline for the call for evidence for the Treasury’s review of business rates. Rather than tinkering with the current system, it needs to go, writes Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.
Before reorganisation we need a clear view of the sector's core purpose
How local government 'can sensibly be reorganised without a clear view of its core purpose (will adult social care services be in or out?) or funding mechanisms' is baffling Abdool Kara.
Retail chiefs call for more rate relief as Sunak considers tax hikes
Retail chiefs have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend business rate relief just as he plans tax rises to reduce the £2 trillion hole in the public finances.
Taxing questions on a flawed system
The Treasury announced a call for evidence on business rates. Martin Ford speaks to experts about the system’s flaws, and whether the Government can enact radical change in a time of coronavirus and Brexit.
Business rate revaluation postponed for two years
Ministers have postponed a revaluation of business rates until April 2023 and issued consultation on the wider rating system.
It's time for a serious, adult conversation on future funding
While the Government is right to caution against councils overexposing themselves on commercial investments, it needs to recognise its own role in creating this situation, according to Claire Kober.
Think tank calls for sweeping reforms to local taxes
A group of former Treasury special advisers have called for revaluation of the council tax and reform of business rates to boost the economy post-COVID-19.
Jenrick announces more cash, income compensation and tax delay
Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has announced more cash and new ways councils will be reimbursed for income lost as a result of coronavirus.
Time to relax borrowing rules
An Institute for Fiscal Studies report on coronavirus regional variations paints a stark picture for councils’ budgets, says Michael Burton.
Counties could be forced to issue Section 114 notices this year
If predictions in Grant Thornton's report on county finances fall anywhere close to the actual financial outturn, a significant number of councils will be forced to reduce costs, and as a last resort issue Section 114 notices, says Tom Foster.
Promote localism to save high streets, says updated Grimsey review
Scrapping high street business rates and promoting localism alongside green spaces and fewer cars are crucial if town centres are to thrive after the pandemic, says retail expert Bill Grimsey.
Business rates grant money could be clawed back, says IFS
Central government funds given to councils to pay for grants and business rates waivers may have to be paid back if it is unspent, a finance think tank has claimed.
EXCLUSIVE: Four months before action taken on second business rates error
Senior Whitehall officials were not told about a second major error in the administration of business rate pilots until four months after it was flagged, The MJ has learnt.
EXCLUSIVE: No bail outs for commercial investments
Plans to bail out councils struggling with their finances could vary between authorities - but they will not cover commercial investments, The MJ understands.
Road to disaster?
With a huge proportion of income vanishing almost overnight, there is the very real possibility that every council in Yorkshire will have to issue s114 notices, says Cllr Judith Blake.
Difficult questions lie ahead for Government and the sector
Graeme McDonald says we have some important decisions to make and a challenging new future to plan for. Will Westminster fulfil its promises and cover the full cost of the crisis for local councils?
Questions raised over rates retention
Senior Local Government Association (LGA) figures have called for the sector to reappraise its support for increased business rates retention in light of coronavirus.
Discretionary business grants fund expected to be over-subscribed
Councils expect to be swamped with applications to a new discretionary fund created to help small businesses that have been blocked from claiming existing grants.
Whitehall delays revaluation of business rates
The Government has confirmed the planned revaluation of business rates will no longer take place next year due to coronavirus.