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Home > News > Helping ratepayers high on the agenda

Helping ratepayers high on the agenda

Posted by Communications Team on 3 February 2020 | Comments

The introduction of discounts to support ratepayers across Babergh and Mid Suffolk is to be considered by councillors later this month.

In the Queen’s Speech last December, the Government announced changes to some business rate discounts and proposed a new discount for pubs.

Now Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils’ cabinets are set to discuss proposals to ensure the councils are poised to provide a discretionary retail discount, local newspaper discount and pub discount to support ratepayers across the districts as quickly as possible.

The Government pledged to:

  • increase the retail discount from one third to 50% and include cinemas and music venues within the scheme
  • extend the duration of the existing newspapers discount
  • and introduce an additional discount for pubs

Now both councils are to consider giving authority to the Assistant Director – Corporate Resources, in consultation with the cabinet members for Finance and the councils’ leaders, in order to implement the scheme as soon as the Government provides full details.

The councils hope that by taking this step, they can support ratepayers and the local economy without any unnecessary delay – and may even be able to include the discounts on the business rates bills for 2020/21, due to be issued this March.

Councillor John Ward, leader and Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for finance said:

“By acting now and delegating authority to a senior finance officer and key councillors we can ensure a local discretionary discount is introduced for pubs; update our retail discount policies; and extend the local newspaper discount as soon as the Government unveils full details of the schemes – without any unnecessary delay for our ratepayers.”

Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for finance, Cllr John Whitehead, said:

“We want to be ready to adopt any measures that help local businesses through rate discounts as quickly as possible in order to support our village shops and pubs and the high streets of our towns during a time of significant change for the retail sector.  We are committed to helping our communities thrive and economic growth for local business is key.”