REFORM MUST GIVE CITIES REASONS TO PRIORITISE DEVELOPMENT
ALLOWING councils to retain
a portion of future tax made on business property will give cities
an incentive to say ‘yes’ to the development needed to drive
economic growth for the first time in 20 years, according to new
research out by Centre for Cities.
The report, Room for Improvement, Creating the financial incentives
needed for economic growth, argues that a bold change to current
policy is needed and recommends that cities should be allowed to
retain between 40% and 60% of future business rates, indefinitely.
This would create a strong, simple, long-term incentive for cities
to support development and economic growth.
The report, which is supported by SNR Denton and CB Richard Ellis,
urges the government to use the Local Government Resources Review to
radically change how business rates are currently allocated.
The Government has introduced 2 new policies to rebalance local
decision making in favour of development. The New Homes Bonus offers
local authorities a payment for each additional house built, and the
Local Government Resources will allow for the retention of business
The report shows that the reforms could fundamentally alter
the way that local government in England is financed, incentivising
local authorities to be far more pro-growth and pro-development.
55 English cities increased their business rate during the period
1999 to 2010, suggesting that a financial incentive for growth could
work positively for almost all cities. The table below shows which
cities have seen the highest proportion of growth in their business
rates since 1999.
Real growth in business rates (1999-2010)
(Using the GDP deflator (2009-10
Joanna Averley, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said:-
“The government must not miss this opportunity to be radical in
revising the business rates system, and we welcome the political
backing given to this process by Nick Clegg last month. Reviewing
this system will not only reward councils for being pro-growth, but
it will also make a real difference to the people they represent;
because the money raised from the business rate could be ploughed
straight back in to the community, into things like roads and
In this challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever
to encourage buoyant cities to grow. Because the current tax system
offers no direct financial incentive for cities to develop their
business base, it does not encourage them to achieve their full
Sarah Whitney, Managing Director, Government & Infrastructure, CB
Richard Ellis, said:- “Allowing local authorities to retain a
sizeable proportion of their future incremental business rates,
could be a very real incentive to developers and local businesses.
Whilst unlikely to be popular with all local authorities, we are in
tough times, and tough times require Government to make tough
In our view, the local retention of rates could foster a dynamic
partnership between developers and local authorities, which could
facilitate the smooth delivery of projects that will bolster
economic growth. There is no doubt that a number of stalled
projects, that could have created additional jobs and economic
growth, would have been brought forward if a greater proportion of
business rates had been retained locally to fund the necessary
infrastructure. We await the outcome of the Local Government
Resource Review for clarity, but the implementation of local
business rates retention is critical.”
Stephen Webb, a Partner at SNR Denton said:- "As the Coalition
Government begins to acknowledge that the Localism agenda must be
balanced by a credible agenda for growth, the financial incentives
to stimulate development have come under closer scrutiny. This
report concludes that while the Government's proposed incentives are
a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to stimulate
development to ensure that our towns and cities are able to compete
nationally and internationally. Financial incentives such as
business rate retention and the New Homes Bonus therefore need to be
enhanced and the benefits distributed to the relevant authorities to
properly encourage much needed development."
De-light for Liver Building
LIVERPOOL is to celebrate
the 100th birthday of its world-famous Liver Building and the
opening of the new Liverpool Museum with an awe-inspiring and
unmissable audio-visual spectacular. The 3D Son et
Lumiere projection will use images and sound to bring the buildings
to life in a cutting-edge digital chronicle of 800 years of history
- from civil war and industrial revolution to WWII and the Beatles.
As the city’s newest building, the Museum will be a major part of
the celebrations with its own 3D projection which will create a new
waterfront dimension, changing the perception of seemingly ordinary
objects, and at the same time shattering the viewer’s perception and
perspective. This very special FREE ‘On The
Waterfront’ weekend at the Pier Head on 22 July to 24 July
2011, sees the UK debut for the internationally acclaimed The Macula
architectural projection company who left crowds in Prague
awe-struck with their 600th Anniversary show projected onto the
city’s Astronomical Clock.
The Macula, who are based in the Czech Republic, have never worked
in the UK before but their debut is set to be something generations
will talk of for years to come. Martin Posta of The Macula, said:-
"The Liverpool challenge is one of the most important events
for The Macula team in 2011. 'The On The Waterfront'
event will be the place where modern architectural mapping meets
Liverpool's history and its contemporaneousness. The creative
approach to the projection will come from the historical differences
of the buildings."
Each evening the celebrations will start around 8.30pm with a
special musical performance. Blues favourite Connie Lush be whipping
up audiences into a frenzy on the Friday before Saturday’s revellers
will enjoy a one-off concert by the internationally renowned Royal
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on the Saturday. Liverpool
sensations 6 Toys will entertain the crowds on the Sunday. And
if that wasn’t enough, throughout each evening, giant, beautifully
illuminated lanterns representing key points in Liverpool’s history
will be on display at the Pier Head complete with illuminated fish
swimming in the canal. Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool City
Council cabinet member for culture and tourism, said:- "The
Macula extravaganza will showcase the finest in international
artistry to mark the anniversary of one of the UK’s most significant
buildings and herald the birth of the next generation of
architectural excellence. The Liver Building was controversial from
the start - it was the first to use reinforced concrete which was
revolutionary at the time, but because of the modern look of the
building, people didn’t take to it at first. And now we can safely
say it’s one of the most loved buildings in the world. It’s
wonderful we can mark the special birthday of one of the city’s most
influential buildings and at the same time usher in a new era with
the opening of our new world-class museum which I’m sure will prove
to be a hugely popular attraction." This year’s series
of events were kicked off in April by the hugely successful Spring
on the Waterfront which attracted around 60,000 visitors to the Pier
Head during the ten day maritime extravaganza. Historic Tall Ships,
regattas, a sea shanty festival and historic canal boats all took
part in the festival. The final 'On The Waterfront'
event will take place from 8 to 15 September 2011 and will see a
new-look Mersey River Festival return for the first time since 2005.
A royal naval visit along with Cunard Cruise Liners, including the
new Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2, will all be part of the
much-anticipated activities. Last year’s On The
Waterfront series of events brought in more than £1.2 million to the
city’s economy and this year’s events are funded by Liverpool City
Council in partnership with European Regional Development Funding.
for more details. For a taste of what treats are in store in July,
The Macula. To see The
Macula’s incredible projection onto Prague’s Astronomical Clock.
Also you can click on
here to see what The Macula
recently produced in Dubai for Fanta.
Youth and Play this summer
MORE than 2,000 extra hours
of play and fun activities for young people will take place during
the summer holidays in Liverpool. The money will be used to support
established projects in putting on additional events, such as sports
and art, during the schools out period in late July and August 2011.
Funding will be divided equally between the north and south of the
city, and distributed to projects operating in areas with the most
significant need for youth and play provision. A further
£75,000 in grants will be given out to voluntary organisations
through Merseyside Play Action Council (MPAC). Councillor
Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Youth and Play
said:- "We want to put on a wide and varied range of
activities and things to do for young people during the summer.
These additional events will make sure there are things happening
right across the city over the holiday period. It is essential that
we engage with young people and give them exciting and stimulating
events to take part in rather than being tempted to hang around on
street corners. Cuts in government funding mean we aren’t able to
put on our usual Splash programme, but this will go some way to
compensate. We are also working with partner organisations such as
housing associations and community groups to try and make sure we
maximise the number of events taking place in the city this summer."
The programme of activities for young people will launch as
the schools close for the summer break and will be held at youth
centres, community organisations, parks and public spaces across the
city. More information will be available at the Youth Service