Business community consultation

The Council will propose its 2024/25 budget through its Revenue Estimates and Council Tax report to be published on 20 February 2024. This report will be put to Council for consideration and approval on 4 March 2024.

If any business rates payers would like to make any comments, suggestions or request further information on budget proposals before then, please contact Jason Blackhurst on 020 7974 4729 or email jason.blackhurst@camden.gov.uk by 13 February 2024.

 

 

Financial Challenge

The Council continues to face significant financial challenges following the global pandemic and the cost of living crisis which is expected to have a lasting impact on the Council and its financial position. Without action this has the potential to severely undermine and threaten our financial sustainability and resilience. 

Camden continues to operate in a challenging financial environment. Recent analysis from London Councils shows that London boroughs face a perfect storm of prolonged high inflation, fast-increasing demand for services, and insufficient government funding, leading to a growing risk of financial and service failures. London boroughs are facing a growing pressure on adult and children’s social care, as well financial pressure due to the capital’s worsening homelessness crisis.

Despite these challenges Camden has remained financially resilient and has agreed a Medium-Term Financial Strategy to ensure it is able to deliver the Council’s key service commitments.

The Medium Term Finance Strategy report to Cabinet in January 2023 set out the council’s financial position and the recommended savings as part of the Strategy.  A further report to Council in December 2023 on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy summarises the Council’s current financial position.

Supporting Business

This is a challenging time for businesses across sectors and across the UK. We have been consulting and engaging with key partner organisations, including our five Business Improvement Districts to understand the scale of the challenge in Camden. This was reflected in the recent Full Council report on the Cost-of-Living Crisis.


The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is the principal government package of support for businesses and non-domestic customers, running from 1st October 2022, to 31st March 2023. The scheme will be available for those with non-domestic contracts, including businesses, schools, as well as voluntary and public sector organisations. The value of discount for each business will vary according to circumstances and contract type. These changes will have been automatically applied to bills from October, with the first savings being seen in November bills. Further information and eligibility is here  Energy Bill Relief Scheme


We are developing and will be maintaining a page on the business section of the council’s website to hold the latest support and advice for business, but a lot of the best advice is already available on the GLAs London Business Hub with its Cost of Doing Business Hub. There are practical steps and information including:
•    Debt management, cash flow and insurance cover for businesses
•    Support for rising energy costs
•    Loans and finance
•    Sustainability and support with transition to net zero, including the Mayor's Business Climate Challenge 

We recognise that there will be some difficult decisions for business to face regarding their future through 2023 and Camden will continue to develop a business support offer as new resources and funding become available.

Camden Apprenticeships service to local businesses

Camden Apprenticeships is an award winning service that has created almost 900 apprenticeship vacancies since it was set up in 2010. The team provide support to employers to develop apprenticeship vacancies and recruit the best local talent.  We support both levy and non-levy paying employers, all our support is provided free of charge and we have a range of options available depending on your needs. Our service includes the following:


•    support to develop a job description that’s suitable for an apprentice 
•    information about training arrangements and best practice management techniques 
•    help to identify a suitable training provider and apprenticeship qualification
•    advertising the role and screening potential candidates 
•    shortlisting and organising interviews
•    assisting in setting up training arrangements once a start date has been agreed
•    support on request with any questions or concerns at any point in the apprentice’s contract.


For information and support on recruiting an apprentice, including timelines, please contact apprenticeships@camden.gov.uk or call 02079748778


camden.gov.uk/apprenticeships
 

Business Rate Changes

In the Autumn budget announcement, the Chancellor confirmed the Business rate multipliers of 49.9p (small business multiplier) and 51.2p (standard multiplier) will again be frozen for 2023-24 and retail relief scheme will be extended to increase relief for eligible businesses to a maximum of 75% (from 50% in 2022/23), up to a £110,000 cash limit per business (including any other ‘qualifying connections’ such as companies in the same group) across all their hereditaments in England combined.  This is a national relief so businesses within London authorities, despite potentially higher rateable values than outside of London, do not have any different criteria such as higher cash caps permitted.  

The Government also announced a new transitional relief scheme for 2023/24 to relieve the impact for businesses who have seen rateable values increase as a result of the 2023 national revaluation.  This will mean during 23/24, the business rates charge for those seeing rateable value increases in Camden will be limited to:
•    5% where the rateable value is under £28,000
•    15% where the rateable value is between £28,001 and £100,000
•    30% where the rateable value is more than £100,000

Whereas usually the transitional relief scheme is self-funding those who should see bills reducing as a result of rateable values decreasing seeing their reductions limited by similar amounts to cover the cost of the scheme to support those seeing bills increasing so would see those having rateable values decrease in a phased approach post revaluation, the scheme announced is being funded during 23/24 by the Exchequer which means those seeing rateable value reductions will benefit from the full reduction immediately.  

In addition, as a result of the revaluation, should the Transitional Relief scheme result in a small business losing eligibility for Small Business Rate Relief, it was announced that the Supporting Small Business scheme (SSB) will limit the increased bill faced to no more than £50 a month.

Business Rate Retention

2023/24 will mark the third year in succession that the London Wide Pool pilot scheme will not exist due to the London wide financial uncertainty that remains post COVID-19.

Camden welcomed the pilot pool approach, in a step towards wider devolution and a consensus for a London wide agreement. We continue to strongly support the principal Councils retain increased 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. In turn, we are creating a circular economy by encouraging greater participation of SMEs through our procurement processes.

There have been no further announcements around the implementation of the new model for Business Rates but reforms to the funding of local government may put the Council’s financial resilience at risk by changing how funding is distributed to local authorities across England and the rebasing of business rates could threaten to strip out the pre-pandemic business rates growth which the Council has been able to retain. The retention rate for London will remain at 67% of income above the baseline with the GLA keeping 37% and councils keeping 30%.