A MOVE to let local councils keep the money they raise in business rates will provide “a massive incentive” for Kirklees to attract new enterprises to the area, it is claimed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg announced that under government plans, councils in England will be allowed to keep the business rates they collect rather than paying them into a central pot.

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises, including warehouses, shops, offices, pubs and factories.

At present, they are calculated and collected by local authorities and go to a central pool before being redistributed to all councils in the form of a grant.

The grant is used to help fund local services like the police and fire brigade.

The proposed change was welcomed by Clr Nicola Turner, Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for investment and housing at Kirklees.

She said: “This is another longstanding Liberal Democrat policy which we are now delivering while in government.

“Allowing local councils like Kirklees – one of the biggest manufacturing districts in the UK – to keep the money it generates from business rates has real, exciting potential for our area.

“It will create a massive incentive for the council to look to attract new businesses and generate new business opportunities for the area, which in turn would bring in new jobs and increased prosperity for local people.”

Clr Turner said: “The more business rates we can collect, the better and more secure the public services we can provide.

“It could also encourage councils to reserve land for the purpose of business rather than selling it off to housing developers for a short-term gain.

“It makes that land have an increased value in terms of what it could yield for the authority over a long period of time should it become a site used by a successful business.”

The proposals will also give councils the power to borrow against business rate income to fund local development.

Under the proposed changes, there is a guarantee that no council would be left worse off than under the current system.