MP fears resort businesses will have to pay the price of metro mayor’s funding plan
SOUTHPORT MP Damien Moore has flagged up concerns that businesses could be charged extra rates due to changes agreed by Sefton Council.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Sefton has accepted new powers which will allow Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to demand extra money from businesses to fund infrastructure in the wider city region.
Mr Moore said: “Our businesses should not pay more than they already are for projects they will probably not see.”
But Steve Rotherham responded that the new powers given to metro mayors by the government can only be used for specific projects to support economic growth in that area.
“This means, for example, that they could not raise money from Southport businesses to pay for a project in Bootle.
He said: “I am surprised to hear Mr Moore raise concerns about powers given to metro mayors by the Conservative government.
“The supplement, should we decide to use it, could only be used for specific projects to support economic growth in a particular area.
“ Furthermore, those plans have to be published in detail and voted for by the affected businesses, before any levy can be raised. We do not currently have any plans to use the levy anywhere in the city region.”
The key features of the powers to be conferred include that money raised from the supplement must be used for a project/projects that will support economic growth in the area; the metro mayor must publish a prospectus setting out the benefit of a project/projects that will be funded from the supplement, together with details on the duration for which the supplement would be levied before any supplement is levied and that the proposed supplement is subject to a ballot of the businesses that would be affected.
As well as this, the total business rate supplements raised by the metro mayor must not exceed two pence in the pound and may only be levied on those business properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or more, should the metro mayor determine to apply a higher threshold.