Huge boost for businesses as rates set to fall
Cheaper business rates, a thriving Enterprise Zone and a new £100m investment pot will allow new and existing companies to make the most of the resort’s prime location and facilities, bringing more jobs and wealth to the local area.
That’s the message from Blackpool Council Leader Simon Blackburn, who is encouraging more businesses across the country to benefit from the huge investment potential within the town.
Changes to rateable values for Blackpool businesses mean that companies could save thousands of pounds on their expenses by moving their operations to Blackpool. Retail stores and offices are set to benefit the most following the new revaluations by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which come into force on 1 April.
On average, the revaluation could see a retail business in Blackpool paying 13% less in business rates, compared to an average rise of 5% across the country, while office based businesses will benefit from an average reduction of 18%, compared to an average rise of 13% elsewhere in the UK.
Some businesses will also be able to escape paying business rates whatsoever, as approximately 3,000 Blackpool companies with a rateable value of under £12,000 are exempt completely, with businesses valued between £12,000 and £15,000 also eligible for discounted rates.
In addition to the business rate changes which will take place from 1 April 2017, any companies moving to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone will also become eligible for up to £275,000 worth of rate relief over a five year period or Enhanced Capital Allowances for investments in fixed plant and machinery.
The Enterprise Zone, which has created 400 jobs in its first nine months, has over 170,000 square foot of development under way in the next year, making it the ideal spot for new and existing businesses to set up.
At the same time, businesses operating in Blackpool will also become eligible to qualify for a £100m New Loan Fund being provided by Blackpool Council.
The fund will allow local businesses to benefit from large infrastructure or job creating loans at competitive rates, with an earlier loan fund scheme already helping create almost 400 new jobs in the town.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, is encouraging more businesses to relocate to Blackpool and take up the benefits available from cheaper rates and the expanded loan fund.
He said: “The next five years of entrepreneurship promises to be extremely exciting for Blackpool – the incentives for businesses have never been better than they are right now.
“A trio of cheap business rates, a flourishing enterprise zone and a £100m loan fund means that all the tools are in place for businesses on the Fylde coast to not only compete but to thrive. Together, this trio can prove to be the biggest economic driver that this town has seen in decades and could change the face of Blackpool’s business economy forever.
“For thousands of Blackpool businesses, the revaluation of business rates means that they will have more spare money to spend on investing and growing their company. That could equate to thousands of pounds spent on hiring new workers, expanding their offices or investing in new machinery to take on extra work.
“For businesses operating in the south of the country where rates and costs are continuing to rise, the benefits of moving to the Fylde coast could be even bigger.
“Not only can the running costs in Blackpool be smaller, but the proximity to large economic centres like Manchester and Liverpool means businesses really can get both reduced overheads and increased trade.
“A lot of people probably underestimate the scale of business currently in Blackpool and what some of our companies are achieving but there are so many doing well right now.
“Look at Laila’s Fine Foods, which grew from a small family business into a major player in the food industry with our help, now turning over £36m and employing over 300 local people.
“Look at Force Technology, a start-up company who provide high precision springs for the automotive and airspace industry right out of the Enterprise Zone, who are looking to hire dozens more employees in the coming years.
“And not many people know about Adam Soliman, who with help from our Get Started team, now sells his specialist teas all around the world.
“And this is just the beginning. Small businesses in Blackpool are growing fast. Our business start-up service within the council has helped over 1,000 new companies to ‘get started’ over the last ten years and many of them are doing extremely well.
“The potential for future investment is high. We already have corporations chomping at the bit to invest in Blackpool this year and I am really looking forward to seeing the benefits that can bring to local people over the next few years.”
Current developments from private businesses over the next few years in Blackpool include: a new privately run town centre hotel opposite the new Winter Garden conference centre, a five star extension to the Sands Venue next to the Tower, a Hampton by Hilton Hotel being built on South Promenade and a new owner to buy the historic Imperial Hotel.
“Not only do we have the tools to convince businesses move to Blackpool but we have the infrastructure and the workforce too,” Cllr Blackburn continues.
“The new Enterprise Zone is only minutes off the motorway and is even closer to the airport, while there are almost 140,000 skilled locals across the Fylde Coast ready to work.
“In Blackpool and The Fylde College we also have the highest performing large further education college in England, and the students graduating through it are second to none. With the new Lancashire Energy HQ opening to students in September as well, a ready-made workforce of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates are just waiting to add innovation and inspiration to companies in the town.”