Decision Maker: Cabinet Member - Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services
Decision status: Awaiting Implementation
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report seeks consideration to approve an award of discretionary rate relief to a non-profit making organisation under the provisions of section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (as amended by section 69 of the Localism Act 2011).
That the the applications from Southport Contemporary Arts for 100% discretionary rate relief for the financial year 2022-2023 amounting to £3,093.80 be rejected.
The discretionary rate relief applied for is in respect of the premises 111B Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1DG and 65 Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1EJ.
Reasons for the Decision(s):
Southport Contemporary Arts provide affordable art-related classes/activities for Southport residents. They also provide volunteering and work experience opportunities for school and college students.
Information provided later in this report details various activities, both planned and already undertaken, and the organisation is now recognised as an important contributor to the Southport community providing a service that is not replicated elsewhere.
Clearly this is a valuable Southport resource and worthy of support under normal circumstances. Indeed, Southport Contemporary Arts benefitted from discretionary rate relief in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.
However, it should be noted that the organisation is already receiving 50% Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief for the year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023; awarded to help businesses and organisations in those sectors recover from the COVID19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Southport Contemporary Arts received a retrospective award of 100% Expanded Retail Discount for 65 Eastbank Street in January 2021 for the financial year 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This and the award of 100% Retail Discount for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 and 66% Retail Discount for the period 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 on both 65 Eastbank Street and 111B Eastbank Street has resulted in the organisation carrying business rates credits of £2,342.80 over to the financial year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. Therefore, from a net liability of £3,093.80, the total business rates that Southport Contemporary Arts are required to pay in the financial year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 is £751.00.
Additionally, between April 2020 and June 2021, Southport Contemporary Arts received various COVID19 grants totalling £46,861.00.
None of these reliefs, discounts and grants were available before the start of the COVID19 pandemic and when discretionary relief was previously awarded.
Financial accounts provided by Southport Contemporary Arts for the financial year ended 31 August 2021 show surplus income of £25,021 and a bank balance of £75,216 with net assets of £31,698.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: (including any Risk Implications)
Southport Contemporary Arts has applied for 100% discretionary rate relief to reduce their business rates liability at 111B Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1DG and 65 Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1EJ. The gross liability for 111B Eastbank Street is £3,143.70 and the gross liability for 65 Eastbank Street is £3,043.90. However, after
50% Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief has been applied, the net liability is £1,571.85 and £1,521.95, respectively. Therefore the maximum discretionary rate relief that can be considered is 50% of the gross liability.
The discretionary rate relief applications can be refused, or a different percentage of relief granted, as shown in the tables below: -
Publication date: 21/09/2022
Date of decision: 21/09/2022
Effective from: 30/09/2022