Council investment head welcomes news of boost for Somerset economy

A scheme which could see up to £2million in business rates being retained to boost the local economy across Somerset has been approved by the Government.

Westminster has given the go ahead for the creation of the Somerset Business Rates Pool as part of its recent Local Government Settlement.

This Pool consists of Somerset County Council, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and North Somerset Unitary councils, Mendip, Sedgemoor and South Somerset District councils, and Taunton Deane Borough Council – a continuous geographic area centring on the ceremonial shire county of Somerset, with a combined population of over 900,000.

It is believed that the Pool has the potential to ensure a further £2million of Business Rates is retained locally, to be shared between the member councils. This will encourage closer working on the management of business rates between the partners.

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, and Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: “This new Pool marks the forging of economic and community ties across Somerset and beyond – from Bath to Bridgwater and Burnham; the Somerset Levels, to Nailsea and Yeovil. That this scheme has received full approval from Government is brilliant news.

“This is a practical step that will spur our authorities on in driving economic growth in our region,” he added.

The rationale for the Somerset Business Rates Pool is to encourage economic growth, therefore Pool members are committed to using the additional business rates resource to promote further growth in the local economy.

Subject to budgetary constraints, each Pool member will allocate a significant proportion of their allocated Pool Dividend for activities that support:

• The creation of an environment where it is easy for businesses to start, locate and thrive
• Acceleration of the growth of the economy in Somerset through targeted support in the key strategic sectors.

The allocated Pool Dividend for each authority in the Somerset Business Rates Pool will be confirmed in due course.

Notes to editors

The Local Government Finance Settlement mentioned above details how much funding Somerset County Council, among other local authorities in England, will receive from Government departments to run its core services.

To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, simply click here.