Non-Domestic Rates Relief Scheme - CG/17/038
With reference to article 3 of the minute of Council of 22 February 2017, the Committee had before it a report by the Chief Executive which provided an update on the position of the proposed rates relief scheme in Aberdeen as announced by the Scottish Government on 21 February 2017.
The report recommended:-
that the Committee -
(a) note that the Council had not received any further detail on how the national rates scheme would work in practice and that the report therefore provided the latest information available;
(b) note the potential scheme that Aberdeenshire Council was proposing and was still subject to their approval process; and
(c) otherwise note the content of the report.
The Convener, seconded by the Vice Convener moved:-
that the Committee -
(1) note the contents of the report;
(2) note that the Scottish Government was still to provide Aberdeen City Council with notification of how the national rate scheme would work in practice;
(3) agree to invite the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution to an urgent meeting in Aberdeen with group leaders and the Convener of Finance, Policy and Resources Committee in order to discuss the merits of a local scheme;
(4) agree to set aside £3m to a local scheme provided it was backed by match funding of at least the same amount by the Scottish Government;
(5) subject to (4) above, instruct the Head of Economic Development to design and implement a local scheme, in consultation with Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce the Scottish Government and the Convener of Finance, Policy and Resources Committee;
(6) to instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution calling upon the Scottish Government to further use its legislative powers to introduce a rate relief scheme which, would ensure that all businesses located within Aberdeen were paying business rates no higher than their current levels; and
(7) to note that the Scottish Government would be in receipt of consequentials in excess of £300m following announcements by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his budget speech of 8 March 2017.
Councillor Flynn, seconded by Councillor Dickson moved as an amendment:-
that the Committee –
(1) note the content of the report and thank officers for their work;
(2) note that the Council, through the Community Empowerment Act, had the powers to implement targeted rate relief to businesses within the city;
(3) instruct officers to design a scheme utilising the over £3m administration budget surplus, plus additional funds from contingencies and any rates saving made by the council from the Scottish Government rate relief scheme, to create a £4m fund which would aim to allow for:-
(i) a 3% cap on hospitality rate increases;
(ii) a 12.5% cap on retail rate increases; and
(iii) a 12.5% cap on manufacturing rate increases;
(4) welcome the announcement that the Scottish Government has provided £7.5m worth of rates relief to Aberdeen, equating to around 18% of the total pot for Scotland, which allows for:-
(i) a 12.5% cap on hospitality rate increases; and
(ii) a 12.5% cap for offices.
On a division, there voted:- for the motion (11) – the Convener, the Vice Convener and Councillors Allan, Crockett, Delaney, Ironside, Laing, Malik, Reynolds, Taylor and Yuill; for the amendment (6) – Councillors Cameron, Corall, Dickson, Flynn, Nicoll and Townson.
The Committee resolved:-
(i) to adopt the motion; and
(ii) that officers circulate information relating to the funding mechanism to all Committee members.