Please read on for a quick update on the November 17th budget announcement and the implications for your business, our work to secure improved parking rates, and our ongoing Christmas activities. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.
1. Budget Summary & Implications for Your Business
On the 17th of November, the new Chancellor announced a series of fiscal measures that will have an impact on high streets, businesses and BIDs. Our partners at The BID Foundation have kindly analysed the Treasury’s 70-page publication and summarised the key points in a PDF – download by clicking here. Below are a few points that stood out to us, particularly as we have been lobbying for additional support for some time. Although we know there is more to do, the commitments provide some much-needed certainty for the year ahead.
- There is positive news on business rates with 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – up to £110,000 per business, in 2023/24. Effectively those in these sectors currently receiving the tapered support rate of 66% relief, a legacy of COVID-19 response, will continue to receive support. This means many businesses will continue to save thousands of pounds a year; an unexpected and very welcome announcement.
- There will be a revaluation of properties in 2023 – this will happen on 1st April 2023 based on rental market values at 1 April 2021. The expectation is that over 2/3 of properties will not rise in value (the revaluation point was mid-COVID crisis, when a significant impact on the rental market was evidenced in many locations). Our analysis of BID levy-paying businesses is that 85% will see their ratable value (and associated business rates liability) drop. The existing and future rateable value of your property can now be viewed on the VOA website here: https://www.gov.uk/find-business-rates
- For those that will see an increase in business rates, there is more support announced:
- Multipliers frozen in 2023/24
- Transitional relief available – a significant package of £13.6bn over 5 years will provide support to those businesses that see their rates burden rise because of the April 1st.
- Downward caps abolished – another very welcome reform. If properties are rated downwards, there will be no cap on the effective saving that businesses will make.
- £600 upward cap for SBRR / RR – any business that is effectively uprated out of the Small Business Rates Relief scheme or Rural Relief scheme, will see a £600 upward cap imposed. (Note we have 5 properties coming into the BID in this group).
- No online sales tax
2. Town Centre Car Parking
At the beginning of 2022, the cost of parking in Warwick District Council (WDC) car parks rose substantially (to £7.00 all day from £3.50 in Covent Garden and higher elsewhere). Many customers and employees raised concerns with us and others about this and we have continued to discuss this with WDC throughout the year.
With the cost of living crisis biting deep we are pleased to announce some progress which we hope will support local visitors and employees over Christmas and into the year ahead. This is viewed as the ‘start’ of a more responsive relationship where we can consider further improvements and incentives in future. Some of the changes that have been agreed upon include:
- Free Parking in Warwick District Council (WDC) Off Street Car Parks on Saturday 3rd December for Small Business Saturday.
- Free Parking in Warwick District Council (WDC) Off Street Car Parks on Sundays in December
- Free Parking in WDC Riverside House Car Park on Milverton Hill on weekends (Saturday & Sunday): Open from 8am – 7pm on the 3/4, 10/11, 17/18 December and until 6pm on Saturday 24 December.
- New Year parking for £3.00 all day in the four WDC South Town Car parks from 8am each day.
You can read more about this by clicking here.
We are grateful for the help of Cllr Liam Bartlett who recently joined the BID Leamington Board for his advocacy on this issue. You can read his comments on the local BBC news website – and further on the Warwickshire World website and Kenilworth News website, where discussions with ourselves are referenced.
Please note, seven-day charges will remain in place throughout December for the on-street parking spaces which are operated by Warwickshire Council County Council (WCC). Our talks with WCC, which include improvements to the payment machines, continue.
2. Green Grant (for SMEs, up to 40%)
Don’t forget Warwickshire County Council has announced a new ‘Green Grant’ scheme. As always, there are various eligibility requirements. In this case, it is for businesses whose operations can be defined at least 50% Business to Consumer and who employ 50 people or less. We see this scheme as potentially beneficial to businesses who may have already been considering investing in this area – and therefore have the funds to hand (as this covers 40% and the business must invest 60%).
Following a free energy audit, the grant may fund up to 40% of the investment businesses wish to make – and are between £1000 and £20,000. The following items are often identified in an energy audit and provide examples of activities that may be eligible for grant assistance, should the carbon saving per tonne per £1,000 invested be achievable:
- Lighting – LED, controls, sensors
- Heating – replacement boilers/burners, upgrades – electric to gas, zone control, heat recovery, oil to gas, thermal stores,
- Ventilation – fans, distribution
- Renewable technologies
- Recycling and waste – compactors, balers and crushers
Please see the website for more details: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/greengrants
We are happy to help with any questions also.
3. Looking Forwards, BID Support – Please Stay in Touch
Throughout December we continue to showcase your businesses and products on our websites and social media platforms and this will continue into the New Year. Importantly if you are doing late-night shopping or your circumstance change please let us know so we can update our websites and let the wider community know. Also, please email us content and ‘tag’ us in your social media posts.
Please also join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our refreshed BID website: www.bidleamington.com. The business tookbox also contains helpful ideas to make the most out of Christmas.
Very best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.
Steph, Alison and Gary
Note: Dates For the Diary:
- Christmas Scratch Cards: 21st Nov – 16th December (these go to print next week, so please let us know if you have prizes to offer or instant win offers)
- Social Media Showcase: 21st Nov – 20th December (let us know if you wish to feature)
- Santa’s Post Box – Royal Priors: 3rd – 24th December
- Leamington Lantern Parade: Sunday 4th December
- Christmas Tree Festival: 10th – 18th December (Organised by Whittle Productions)
- Myton Hospice Santa Dash: 11th December (starts in Victoria Park – organised by Myton Hospice)
- Santa’s Train – Regent Court: 17th -18th December