Business to benefit from £2m grant

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 January 2015

THE number of jobs in North Somerset is still lower than pre-recession levels.

THE number of jobs in North Somerset is still lower than pre-recession levels.

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A SCHEME which could see up to £2million pumped into businesses in the area has been approved by the Government.

North Somerset and Sedgemoor businesses will be among those to benefit from the new pool of money, which will be spread around Somerset and will come from the authorities’ own business rates.

Half of the total collected is normally passed on to central Government and redistributed nationally, but will instead be used to help ‘mitigate local demographic and service pressures’, as well as looking to provide ‘additional stimulus to new development’, according to Sedgemoor District Council.

A spokesman from the authority told the Mercury: “Councils collect business rates within their district or area, but they can then only retain 50 per cent of the income collected above the baseline figure, which is set by the Government. The other 50 is paid over to central Government.

“But in the Somerset business rates pool, the members collectively only have to pay over a levy of 7.54 per cent – and the remaining amount is shared between the pool members, helping to make sure the income is retained locally.”

Burnham Chamber of Trade has been among those campaigning for business rates to be retained in Somerset and put to use in the county.

Chairman Mark Newman said: “Having that help for small businesses in our town centre has got to be strongly welcomed, although we are still digesting the fine detail.

“Seeing it kept locally is particularly welcome. It’s something we have mentioned to Sedgemoor, that we would like to see more of the income of businesses in Burnham coming back to benefit the town and it looks like it will finally be realised.”

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