£30m business rates bonus for Leeds and its neighbour cities

Councillors in Leeds have welcomed a potential a £30m boost to the public coffers, after the city was chosen as one of the pilot areas for a new Government scheme allowing local authorities to retain 100 per cent of their business rates.

Currently, councils can only keep half of the rates, with the other half going to the central Government pot.

Speaking at Wednesday’s full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall, leader of the council Judith Blake said she was especially pleased to see Leeds’s application being successful, as it had previously “seemed to be only going to those areas that have achieved devolution deals”.

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“For Leeds to be included in the pilot is a real achievement,” she said. “We don’t know how long it will go on for.”

The pilot will mean that the wider Leeds City Region will get £30million across seven districts, including Harrogate and York.

Leeds will keep £7.5million, the other councils will share the same amount, and there will be a £15 million pot that all the seven authorities can bid into,

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds council’s opposition Conservative group, urged the administration to “spend the money wisely to convince the Government that this should not be a pilot, but a permanent part of local Government financing”.