Charities could face cuts in business rates relief

Coun Steve Sweeney

Coun Steve Sweeney

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Charities and not-for-profit organisations across the upper Calder Valley could face cuts to their business rates relief from April 2015.

Calderdale Council is currently reassessing how it gives out Discretionary Rates Relief (DRR) due to rate relief funding changes from Central Government and is seeking the views of those affected before making any final decisions.

The consultation began on Monday and will run to Monday, December 2 - with events taking place in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

Proposals on the table include reducing the amount of time DRR is valid for from three years to two, and cutting the amount of relief available to organisations with an annual income over £100,000.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Coun Steve Sweeney, said: “We are committed to supporting voluntary and community groups in Calderdale. We know what a big difference they make to people’s lives, so we’re keen to continue offering DRR to a range of organisations so they can keep providing important services.

“However, changes introduced by the Government mean that the scheme will cost us – and therefore the taxpayer – more money to run, and we need to make sure we target funds fairly and transparently on small and local organisations which are most dependent on DRR for their continued sustainability.

“We’re proposing a number of changes to the way we award relief. We’d really like to hear from people as part of our consultation – we’ll use what they tell us to help shape the new scheme.”

All the groups currently in receipt of DRR have been advised of the consultation and the council has asked for their feedback. After the consultation, the council will create the final proposals for its new DRR scheme and Cabinet will consider them in January 2014.

The council aims to have the new scheme in place from April 2015 and it will inform current recipients a year in advance so they can plan for any changes to their entitlement.

Organisations can find out more and have their say at two drop-in sessions taking place in the upper Calder Valley over the next two months.

The first will be at the Salem Community Resource Centre, Central Street, Hebden Bridge, from 9am to 1pm on Thursday, September 19.

This will be followed by a meeting at Todmorden Community Resource Centre, The Old Bakery, Lever Street (off Union Street), Todmorden, from 9am to 12pm on Thursday, October 3.

Anyone interested in attending any of the drop-in sessions is asked to contact Jayne@nbforum.org.uk or call 01422 345174.

If you’d like an appointment to discuss your organisation’s development, contact Jo@nbforum.org.uk.

You can also have your say by going to www.calderdale.gov.uk/council/consultations/rate-relief/survey.htm or emailing grants@calderdale.gov.uk.