Superstores’ contributions are ‘vital’ for council funds

SH 020215 Tesco and Marks and Spencer, Holmbush Centre, Shoreham. Derek Martin SUS-150202-164921002

SH 020215 Tesco and Marks and Spencer, Holmbush Centre, Shoreham. Derek Martin SUS-150202-164921002

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SHOREHAM’S Holmbush Shopping Centre plays a crucial role in funding council coffers, new figures reveal this week.

But the highest contributor of business rates to Adur District Council is Shoreham Power Station, with £1.99million payable for 2014/15.

Business rates expert Paul Turner-Mitchell compiled the statistics, which reveal the top ten ratepayers between them contribute 42 per cent of the entire property tax take in Adur.

He said: “Retail and, in particular, the large format superstores, are massive contributors to council coffers and effectively front line services.

“In a world of changing consumer habits moving to convenience and with the growth of the discounters like Aldi and Lidl, it is not impossible that one of the big four could disappear and certainly the big four’s portfolios of superstores is likely to decrease.

“This could, in turn, effect council budgets. It is imperative that councils work with retail rather than seeing it as a cash cow.”

The introduction of the Government’s business rate retention scheme meant that from April 2013, a significant part of the council’s budget became dependent on the amount of business rates collected from its area.

In the financial year ending March 31, 2015, Adur District Council is expected to collect £16.5million in business rates. Around £6.9million will be kept to spend locally, with a further £1million going to West Sussex County Council.

Of the stores at Holmbush Shopping Centre, Tesco Extra will be paying £1.69million, M&S £1.63million and Next £500,000.

Other stores on the top-ten list are B&Q in Brighton Road, Shoreham, paying £270,000; The Co-operative in Shoreham, £170,000; and Asda in Lancing, £140,000.

Also on the list are Lancing College (£22,000), aggregates firm ARC in Shoreham Harbour (£21,000), and Adur council itself, paying £13,000.

Leader of Adur District Council Neil Parkin said: “Business rate collections represent a very important contribution to the council’s overall general income each financial year. In the next five years, we can expect the amount of money that district and borough authorities receive from the government to continue to reduce – in Adur, we will see this more than halve. This will put pressure on our overall financial position, but through continuing to grow our economy and thus our business rate collection, I am certain that we can continue to keep our council tax low.”