Revealed – what Halton gets in business rates from bridge
● ● Right, the existing ward map with its 56 seats HALTON Borough Council has revealed how much it expects to receive in business rates from firms directly involved in the Mersey Gateway bridge this financial year.
A Freedom Of Information (FOI) request by the Weekly News showed that the local authority expects to receive £178,166.59 in total from tolls operator Emovis Operations Mersey Ltd, and Merseylink Construction Consortium Joint Venture (CCJV) in 2018-19.
Of that sum, £73,971.65 is to be paid by in relation to its premises in Manor Park, and the majority, £104,194.94 by Merseylink CCJV, which has bases at Lancer Court in Astmoor Industrial Estate, Runcorn, and at various locations around Widnes including Forward Point offices on Tanhouse Lane, Waterloo Road, Ditton Road and Dock Road.
Business rates are a tax charged on most nondomestic properties.
The firms’ payments represent a portion of income for Halton from the £1.86bn Mersey Gateway project and the firms’ presence in the borough.
It also comes against a backdrop of major changes in the way authorities are funded via business rates.
Before April 2013, all business rate income collected by councils was put into a national pot, shared among local authorities around the country in the form of formula grant funding.
But following the Local Government Finance Act 2012 and other regulations, the Government gave local authorities the power to keep half of business rates paid in their borough by dividing it into the ‘local share’ and the ‘central share’.
The central share is redistributed to councils via revenue support and other grants.
The local share is kept by local government, but also partly redistributed to ensure councils do not miss out if they have low business rate takings compared to what they need.
According to the Local Government Association, the aim of the switch was to ‘provide financial incentives to councils to grow their local economies’.
This has now been extended with the introduction of 100% business rates retention in pilot scheme areas such as the Liverpool City Region – including Halton – from April 2017.
The Government has said the scheme would give councils more cash to spend on services.
Halton should receive almost £200,000 in business rate revenue from firms connected with the Mersey Gateway in its first year