Queen’s Speech: Government Confirms Business Rates Devolution; Soft Drinks Levy

The Government has set out its legislative agenda for the upcoming parliament, confirming the introduction of proposals announced by the Chancellor and Prime Minister over the last year including the local retention of business rates and a new levy on soft drinks.

The new Local Growth and Jobs Bill will put a framework in place to allow local authorities to retain 100% of the business rates they levy. Mayors will also be given the power to raise additional funding for infrastructure projects if they have the support of local businesses.

The speech also included provisions for a Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill that intend to give local communities more say over neighbourhood planning and Local Plans.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local authorities currently have the power to introduce targeted discretionary rate reliefs to help high street businesses, but these powers are rarely used. We hope that the retention of business rates income by local authorities will encourage them to cut business rates and promote investment, and will be looking closely at the detail of the proposals in the Local Growth and Jobs Bill.”

After being announced in the Budget, the speech also confirmed that a levy on producers of soft drinks with added sugar will be introduced in April 2018, with full details to be included in the 2017 Finance Bill. The Government will be consulting further on the details of the levy in summer 2016.

Full details of the speech are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2016

This entry was posted by Chris on Wed, 18/05/2016 - 13:55