A Kirklees Council director says the government’s review of business rates will be of greatest interest to the authority.
David Smith, director of resources, said the real detail of the Autumn Statement – future government spending – will emerge in the next few weeks.
The biggest issue for the council relates to the business rates review, and Mr Smith said: “The headlines for us in local government would seem to be a review of business rates, and a continuation of spending reductions in 2016/17 and 2017/18 at the same rate as over the period 2010/11 and 2014/15.
“Our forecasts are already based around this assumption of continued austerity, but we will need to wait and see the exact split between local government, schools and the NHS to confirm this.
“On business rate reform, we will need to understand the implications of the Chancellor’s promise to review the structure of the rates, he has also agreed to extend the temporary relief given to small businesses worth about £11m a year to the local economy, and increased a special rates discount for town centre shops, pubs and cafes with a rateable value of less than £50,000 from £1,000 to £1,500.
“The Chancellor also proposed that inflation rises to business rates would be capped at 2%.
“We currently keep 49% of local business rate income and we would expect the Chancellor will compensate us for this loss of local income as he did in 2014/15.”
The council director said he would be interested to know if the Sovereign Wealth Fund for the north of England to benefit from shale gas exploration proceeds is open only to the areas where shale gas exploration takes place.