Business rates owed to Doncaster Council increases by more than £20 million

The amount of money owed to Doncaster Council through business rates has increased by more than £20 million, new figures reveal.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 14th March 2022, 3:25 pm

Since the end of June 2021, this year’s annual debit has increased by more than £21M due to cancellation of Expanded Retail Discount.

Council bosses said this was partly due to the actual level of relief changing from 100 per cent to 66 per cent from the 1st July 1, but a larger part was down to businesses requesting to have the relief cancelled as it would breach relief caps for subsidy control.

Figures show that 75.22 per cent of the total council tax debit has been collected to the end December. This compares with 75.96 per cent for the same period in 2019/20 and 72.26 per cent for the same period last year.

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Doncaster Council

Finance chiefs added that the reason for this increased collection is due to ‘lessening effects’ of Covid-19 at this time but there ‘still remains some uncertainty’ but the situation is much closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Reports seen by councillors also show that new council tax support claims are taking longer than the three working week target due to an outstanding backlog of Universal Credit notifications.

Council bosses have also signalled that they ‘hope’ that the demand for the £500 self-isolation payment reduces as Covid-19 cases decline as the central government fund is ‘very much depleted’.

The Household Support Fund ends in just two weeks and bosses said staff will be ‘very busy’ supporting people with food and fuel costs.

Sennette Wroot, senior policy and insight manager at Doncaster Council, said: “The projections for non-domestic rates collection this year continue to be very difficult to estimate.

“In normal years we would calculate what proportion of the total annual debit has been collected at this point in the year and compare that with previous year’s collection at the same point.

“Although fluctuations to the annual debit take place all the time, they do not usually have a material effect.”