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Plan for rates cuts for new businesses
BUDDING entrepreneurs could be given a vital leg-up when they start new businesses in Castle Point.
Castle Point Council is considering slashing business rates for new enterprises as a way of boosting trade and attracting investment to the borough.
New powers granted under the Localism Act will allow the council to give businesses “discretionary rate relief” to reduce overheads as they struggle to become established.
At present, only charities, not-for-profit organisations and individuals suffering severe hardship are eligible for relief.
The new law means new businesses could have their first year’s rates halved if they meet strict criteria set out by the council.
Councillor Norman Smith, councillor responsible for business liaison and economic growth, said: “This is a good thing for us to have in our arsenal to assist local businesses.
“Quite often, small businesses are looking to come into the borough, and it will be good for us to be able to help fledgling companies achieve that aim.”
If the plans go ahead, the cost of the scheme will have to be covered by income from other rate and taxpayers, so only businesses which offered significant benefits to the borough would be eligible.
The council will be looking for companies which:
- Provide significant employment or employment opportunities in the borough
- Offer facilities to priority groups such as the elderly or disabled
- Provide new services not available elsewhere in the borough.
Companies will also have to prove they are capable of survival once the first year’s rate relief cushion has been taken away.
Mr Smith said the move could help pave the way for the expansion of industrial estates such as Charfleets, on Canvey.
He added: “Obviously, with the Roscommon Way extension now in place, we are looking to encourage more businesses to move onto the site.
“We want to encourage companies to come to Castle Point and to bring in more jobs so more residents are working here in the borough, rather than commuting to other towns.
“However, this will not just be a blanket policy. Each company will have to be considered on an individual basis.”
A final decision on the plans is due to be made at a council cabinet meeting tonight.