CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

As a Trustee for the Light of Hope CIC (www.lightofhope.co.uk) I would like to ask if any other CIC has been given rate relief from their local council? We have just been refused both mandatory and discretionary relief from Trafford council, and yet our premises in Hebden Bridge has always received 100% rate relief from Calderdale.

Has anyone any advice/strategies for overcoming this problem please? All help gratefully received!

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Comment by Debbie La-Haye on June 22, 2010 at 19:35
We get 100% rate relief (Aylesbury Vale). I can't really give any advice because we just asked and got it. One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of my CIC life so far!
Comment by Adrian Ashton on February 23, 2010 at 14:14
unless you have charitable status, any rate relief will always be at the discretion of the local authority, and any business - CIC or not, social enterprise or not, is entitled to apply for it, you just have to make a really good case, and have a sympathetic authority
Comment by John Mulkerrin on February 22, 2010 at 17:09
Hi Alison

What reasons did Trafford council give for refusal? have they taken into account the job creation value/ community benefits of having your company in their borough?

Have you already committed to the lease etc? The general evidence is still patchy but usually the best negotiating position is if you can take your business elsewhere. Do they know you get relief from Calderdale?

I have a meeting with OTS/BIS on Thursday and will be bringing this up, it makes a massive difference to start up/running costs and the sooner we map positive boroughs the better. They're under pressure to increase revenues and some business rates have jumped in excess of 30% for traditional businesses, so we have to make sure we fight for the relief. On the other hand there are areas who would welcome having a community business in their neighbourhood, and plenty of empty shops/offices.

Feel free to give me a call on 0203 262 3044, cant promise much but i'll tell you what I know. If you give me the soft facts id be happy to bring it up individually and ask them to help. It would also be great to get Trafford councils view on this generically, so CICs can decide if they might get a better reception at a neighbouring borough.

In many cases business rates is one of the largest costs and can be a dealbreaker, we feel local authorities should have a clear set of guidelines and help us to assess a projects viability and costs, BEFORE we commit to long term financial commitments such as leases on premises.

Good luck

John
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on February 22, 2010 at 16:58
My sympathies Alison. One of the enduring problems I have operating a social enterprise are those in local government who spout the rhetoric of supporting SE and then opt out of paying invoices.

I hadn't even considered asking my own council for rate relief, but it might be one way of getting on their radar. Mine is a home/office setup however.

All I can say is that I think its time that local government got a little exposure of the difference between their saying and doing.

Jeff

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