Business rate relief in Croydon

Meeting: 
MQT on 2013-12-18
Session date: 
December 18, 2013
Reference: 
2013/4601
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

The Investment and Performance Board's latest performance report for the LB Croydon Business Rate Relief project is very poor, due to a low take up which is resulting in a forecast underspend of £370,000 from a budget of £476,000. Can you comprehensively explain why this is the case and how you plan to improve on this?

Answer

Answer for Business rate relief in Croydon

Answer for Business rate relief in Croydon

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Business Rate Relief project is attempting to attract new and growing businesses to locate in Croydon. Initially take up was very low with Croydon forecasting underspend of £370,000 in Period 6. Two reviews of the project have taken place. As a result of the first review promotional activity was increased and more effort concentrated on building high quality relationships with property agents and business networks. A lower rateable value eligibility threshold was introduced and the project's geographical boundary extended to the whole of the town centre. Consequently 10 businesses signed up with 294 gross jobs safeguarded or created as a result of their relocation and/or expansion. In November a further review led to a revised offer of 100% 'rates free for a year' linked to a marketing campaign and new microsite, as part of Croydon's Inward Investment programme. Although these steps have improved performance it has been agreed to reduce the project budget by £245,587, from the original total budget of £1,114,117. Please note £476,806 is the budget for financial year 2013/14, not the total budget.