Village Shop Rate Relief:
The Scillonian Independent Traders Association (S.I.T.A.) has been much
involved in looking into this recent new legislation. The Isles of Scilly
with a population of less than 3,000 falls within the overall framework
of the scheme.
Government quite rightly have accepted the fact that the burden of
uniform business rates on businesses in small rural communities is a significant
overhead, especially so in areas where seasonal trade is the lifeline to
enable such businesses to function throughout the year.
The relief consists of two elements. There is a mandatory element which
will automatically entitle certain businesses to a 50% reduction in their
rates bill. This relief applies to sole Post Offices and the sole general
store in a qualifying settlement provided that the rateable value is below
a certain threshold. Any such rate relief will be deducted from the central
pool and will not affect council tax payers.
The second element is discretionary relief. Here the local authority
have discretion to grant relief to any business in the community which
they believe is of benefit to the local community provided they have regard,
in reaching their decision, to the interests of council tax payers.
In other words part of the relief granted would come from other local
tax payers. As far as the Isles of Scilly is concerned there are two stumbling
S.I.T.A. has thus been lobbying not only our own M.P. but been in correspondence
with the Department of the Environment to look on these islands as a special
case. We consider;
The very high rateable values can take businesses above the ceiling set
to take advantage of the legislation.
Our small area and thus population numbers mean that any discretionary
relief the local authority may consider will have an effect on other tax
payers. This is not nearly such a problem on the mainland where the much
larger overall population within a local authority area will have a negligible
effect per person. Many businesses in Cornwall are now benefiting from
either mandatory or discretionary relief.
a) The rateable value threshold has been set too low. You cannot equate
high rateable value to high profitability of a business.
b) Any discretionary relief that a local authority may consider granting
should come from the central Government pool and not the local authority.
c) That instead of the scheme being a ”blanket” one for the whole country
it should be regional to take account of local conditions.
Latest correspondence from the Department of Environment advise that
they will continue to review the scheme now it is in operation. We anticipate
as the association has taken up various points with them that we will receive
up dates. Likewise our council has had some involvement and they will ensure
that this association is kept in the picture on any developments from correspondence
they may receive. This item of legislation will thus continue to be reviewed
in the future.
LATE - BUT DESERVED
Thanks for the Xmas Lights
With the absence of John Hicks and Ian Hopkin we were all concerned for
the future of our Christmas Lights.
Andy Stephan very bravely volunteered to take on the mantle of co-ordinator
and together with Conrad Carruthers, Robert Powell, Clive Sibley, Antony
Robson, Richard Hand, Ted Moulson, Mac Cattermoul, John Legg, Derek Guy,
Ray Brown (a gold star here) all these willingly gave their time to ensure
that we had our Christmas Lights (apologies if anyone is left out).
The Kavorna supplied mince pies which John and Ann from Evergreen warmed
and served unceasingly after the service.
Len Michell provided the music and the Choral Society gave of their
usual superb offering.
Reverend Julian Ould and Reverend Brian Mavers shared the MC’ing and
of course most importantly the Park was full of locals young and not so
young singing with joy to welcome Christmas!!!!!!
Sincere thanks to all who have donated to the Lights, to those who
allow their premises to be used for ”plugging in”, to shops with collecting
tins (there’s still time to contribute!!) and a special thanks to Andy
and Sonia who endured stress and worry at this busy time so that we could
enjoy a spectacular show.
Maggie Perkovic, (small time gopher).
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