CABINET CALL: A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet. This week with: COUN NICK WORTH, Deputy Leader & Portfolio Holder for Commercialisation and Growth
My portfolio, which is commercialisation and growth, can be quite varied but is essentially about how as a council we can generate more business growth in South Holland which has knock-on benefits for the services we run.
We are about to embark on a pilot scheme whereby the government will allow us to retain 100 per cent of our business rates for this financial year only.
That may be extended to next year but is not guaranteed and when the main scheme is eventually rolled out they are talking about us retaining 75 per cent of business rates.
There is payback in that up ’til now we have received a revenue support grant from the government, which will now disappear and be replaced in part by business rates retention.
So clearly there is now a major incentive for my portfolio to bring more new businesses into South Holland to generate more rates and therefore help us to continue with the services that we provide to you the taxpayer.
As part of this work we will be working with Opportunity Peterborough, part of Peterborough City Council, who specialise in bringing in inward investment into the area, focussing on new businesses that are in or complement the agri-food industry and other high-tech industries, both national and international.
They will be working closely with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Cambridgeshire LEP to ensure we maximise funding opportunities, such as our Grants 4 Growth scheme and skills in the area.
The other part of my portfolio is commercialisation. That is more inward looking, to ensure the council grasps opportunities to generate more income and become self sufficient and less reliant on government funding.
The South Holland Centre and leisure facilities, for example, cost the tax payer money which we would like to see break even as a minimum, so at no cost to the tax payer and as such we are currently working to achieve that aim.
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