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Council Seeks Powers to Introduce Business Rates

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Bath and North East Somerset Council is asking for powers to raise the funds required to keep its services running.

The council is looking to introduce a tourism levy, which is commonplace in Europe, with council leader Tim Warren suggesting it would net around £2.4 million a year for the local authority without affecting trade.

Other UK cities like Edinburgh, Oxford and Liverpool are seeking similar powers.

The authority wants new controls on the short-term lets like Airbnb that can undercut traditional guesthouses and hotels.
Councillor Warren suggests measures including a tourism levy and charges for short-term lets would help it to become self-sufficient.

However, Liberal Democrats said the proposals highlight the under-funding of local governments and the levy would do little to close the gap.

The council is also looking to introduce powers that would allow it to charge business rates for purpose-built student accommodation, as student households are exempt from council tax resulting in a loss in revenue of around £5 million for the council.