I am delighted that Rochdale Council have acted on my suggestions to introduce a new Business Rates Scheme to encourage more investment in Rochdale Town Centre.
The proposed pilot scheme is set to go before the council’s cabinet next Monday (15 December) and will give new businesses moving into an empty shop an eighty per cent discount on their business rates for the first year, with a further fifty per cent cut in the second year.
The scheme will cover 23 empty units on Yorkshire Street, South Parade, The Walk and Baillie Street. Any new business can apply to be considered for the scheme, which would start in April 2015.
I’m really pleased to see the Council taking decisive action on this issue because business rates are far too high in Rochdale and they’re acting as a barrier to investment, deterring entrepreneurs from setting up a business on our high street. This is a smarter approach to regeneration and it will act as a very strong incentive to encourage businesses to invest in our high street.
The Government's cancellation of the long overdue revaluation of business rates means that traders in the town were paying artificially high rates and it was holding the town back.
The Government has made a real mess of business rates in this Parliament. When you have a fish’n’chip shop on Yorkshire Street paying £6,000 in rent and hit by a £19,000 business rates bill then you know this tax has lost touch with economic reality.
This is a strong package and I am excited to see the impact if will have on the town centre.