One of Liberal Democrat-run Kingston Council's proposals under the Sustainable Communities Act has been shortlisted for consideration by the Communities Secretary.
Kingston’s call for the local retention of business rates, which would have huge implications for Councils across the country, was approved by the Local Government Association and will be delivered to Secretary of State for further review.
This year £79million was levied from Kingston business rates, of which only £30million was returned to the borough for spending on local services.
With almost £50million drained from the area, the funding needed to keep our borough clean and vibrant and council services reliable, unfortunately has to come disproportionally from council tax.
The Labour Government has persistently failed to address a tax system which is fundamentally unfair for Kingston rate payers: companies don’t see their business rates invested in their local area and residents are burdened with disproportionally high council tax.
To ring fence a proportion of business rates for investment in a Council’s locality, as was suggested to us by residents through our SCA community panels, would be a considerable shake of local government finance.
We are delighted that this very sensible proposal has been approved by the LGA and will be discussed openly with the Communities Secretary. We're not holding our breath for any change of the law, especially before this year’s General Election, but we are pleased the SCA is being used to raise the issues which really matter to residents, such as our unfair tax system.