THE PROSPECT of a “northern powerhouse” had a budget boost under new plans unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne.
A provisionally-agreed extension to the ‘City’s Deal’ will see decision-making powers devolved to Greater Manchester and Cheshire East Councils paving the way for total control of all additional business rates.
Currently, just half of business rates growth stay in Manchester, with the rest going to Westminster. As of April 1, any extra cash collected on top of what is forecast will be kept by town hall chiefs.
The move could be worth up to £40m over three years according to Prime Minister David Cameron, who told the Manchester Evening News that the city was selected due the region’s pride at ‘being at the forefront of positive change’.
“This, in turn, will generate more revenue from businesses themselves – promoting economic growth and boosting the job market, which means more hand-working families here see those benefits,” the Conservative Party leader said.
“Greater Manchester is a place where we’ve committed investment in infrastructure and connectivity; where we’ve recognised and extended the hugely successful Enterprise Zones at Manchester and Mersey Waters – a vibrant cultural city of the north that is now firmly in the driving seat of the long-term economic plan.”
However, James Thompson – head of business rates at Deloitte Real Estate – cautioned that the benefits for Manchester of controlling local business rates were not yet clear: “The benefits to Greater Manchester of control of this funding stream will depend on the success of Greater Manchester’s economy and the level of autonomy allowed to the authority to manage business rates.”