Business community consultation

The Council will propose its 2019/20 budget through its Revenue Estimates and Council Tax report to be published on 11 February 2019. This report will be put to Council for consideration and approval on 25 February 2019.

If any representative of non-domestic ratepayers would like to make any comments or request further information or a meeting to discuss the budget proposals before then, please contact Ahmed Ali on 020 7974 2040 or write to ahmed.ali@camden.gov.uk by 7 February 2019.

 

 

Financial challenge

Since 2011, core government grant funding has been reducing each year. The decrease in government funding, which is set to reach 54% in like for like terms by 2019/20, combined with unavoidable cost increases due to inflation and demographic changes such as an ageing population, has meant that the Council has needed to make £169 million of savings by 2018/19.

The Medium Term Financial Strategy report to Cabinet in December 2018 sets out the Council’s plans to address the new medium term funding deficit of £35-40 million. The December report also provided detail on preparations towards setting the 2019/20 budget.

A summary of the Council’s revenue and capital budget for 2019/20 is provided in the Budget Book

Find out more about Camden's financial challenge

 

Supporting business

Camden’s aim is to be the best place to do business in London. Camden Business Board brings together representatives from our major businesses associations and key growth sectors to jointly lobby on big issues including broadband infrastructure, air quality and employment and skills. The Board also co-produces the Camden Business Charter, the Council’s commitment to business. We have made significant enhancements to the customer experience for business. For instance, the online Business Account was relaunched in 2017 with many new features, making it easier than ever to run your business in Camden. In line with Our Camden Plan objectives, we continue to harness the benefits of economic growth with new workspace provision secured through planning obligations and our own Community Investment Programme in Camley Street, Hatton Garden and Maiden Lane, with further workspace to be developed through the refurbishment of Camden Town Hall.

Business rate changes

The Autumn Budget 2018 announced that for two years from April 2019, all retail premises with a rateable value below £51,000 will have their bills reduced by one third. 

The two main elements of a business rate bill rateable value, which is based on the open market rental value of property, and the business rate multiplier, which is used to calculate bills are determined by the Valuation Office Agency. This is a central government agency and Camden Council has no control over rateable values nor the multiplier, statutory discounts or reliefs. 

Business rate retention

Prior to 2013/14, councils handed business rates they collected to the government and received a share back as part of overall government grant. In 2013/14, the government implemented reforms which allows councils to retain a proportion of the business rates they collect in exchange for a reduction in their grant funding. Camden currently retains about 19% of the business rates collected, with the rest going to central government for redistribution and the Greater London Authority. 

In 2019/20 a London-wide 75% business rates retention pilot pool has been proposed that if approved by all parties will cover all 32 London Boroughs, the City of London Corporation and the GLA. While this would not mean that London would retain all of the business rates collected by the members, it does mean 75% of any growth in the business rates base would be retained and distributed within the pool. Unlike the 2018/19 London-wide 100% business rates retention pilot pool, the system will not redistribute the growth across all boroughs ensuring that no borough is worse off than it would have been under the previous system. This will not affect the bills that businesses pay.

Camden welcomes the pilot pool as a step towards wider devolution. We have strongly supported the principle that councils should retain more funding generated locally as part of our advocacy of wider devolution as a means of improving outcomes by moving decisions closer to the residents and businesses they effect. We argue that services that have a direct relationship to business should be transferred to councils including services that can help tackle key infrastructure challenges, including housing, transport and digital connectivity. 

It will be important that should the pilot evolve into a permanent pool, the revised system resolves the issues in the current system such as growth only being measured by increases in the base (rather than property values for example) and the ongoing unpredictability resulting for the large backlog in appeals. The Council also argues that the control over discounts, reliefs and multiplier should be devolved to support local economic growth and priorities.

Grant cuts and rising costs still mean that further savings will need to be achieved next year and the years beyond. The Medium Term Financial Strategy report to Camden’s Cabinet in December 2018 set out an overview of the Council’s financial position, including our plans to address the medium term funding deficit and an update on preparations towards setting the 2019/20 budget. See the supporting documents and have your say on proposals. 

Supporting documents

A number of additional supporting documents are also provided on the Council’s financial strategy webpage.

The Council can provide further information on its revenue or capital estimates for next year on request.