Q: Through the Government’s devolution policy, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are now co-operating in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. But it appears that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will no longer benefit from the ability to keep the Government’s “central share” as well as the local share of the Non-Domestic Rating income – though, apparently, Greater Manchester (which also has a Combined Authority) will. Is this the case? And, if so, why are Cambridgeshire and Peterborough being treated differently from Greater Manchester?
A: The “additional growth pilots” give authorities the right to keep a proportion of the growth on the Government’s “central share. They cannot keep the entirety of that share (unlike the “100% business rates pilots”).
Additional growth pilots were first set up in Greater Manchester, East Cheshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with effect from 2015-16 (long before “100% business rates pilots” were ever conceived). It was always the intention that they would come to an end after 2017-18.
However, before we could put an end to them in Greater Manchester, the Greater Manchester authorities were selected as “100% business rates pilots” and from 2017-18, keep all of the Government’s central share, including all the growth on that share. We legislated for this by means of “The Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention) and (Levy and Safety Net) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/496)”, regulation 8 of which killed the additional growth pilot in Greater Manchester with effect from 2017-18, a year earlier than originally planned. (Obviously, it would have been unnecessary to provide for an authority to keep all the central share (including growth) and, at the same time, a proportion of the growth on the central share).
So neither Greater Manchester nor Cambridgeshire/Peterborough will be an additional growth pilot in 2018-19.
Greater Manchester will be treated differently, insofar as they are a 100% business rates pilot in 2018-19 and Cambridge/Peterborough are not. However, it was open to all authorities to apply to become 100% pilots for 2018-19. 26 areas applied, including Cambridgeshire /Peterborough. Unfortunately they were not successful and not amongst the ten areas announced by Ministers at the Provisional Settlement.
11 January 2018