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Improvement bid could raise taxes for Kendal firms
A NEW tax could be levied on companies in Kendal if a plan to make the town a Business Improvement District (BID) get the go-ahead.
The concept would see each firm hand over one per cent of its rateable value to fund community-led town enhancement projects.
A consultation on the BID idea is due to start soon, with enterprise consultants expected to be employed from next week to discuss the pros and cons of the tax with local firms.
This team, funded by Kendal Town Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria County Council’s South Lakeland Local Committee, will discuss the enterprise idea, which has been put in place in around 100 other towns in the UK, with businesses across the town.
However, before Kendal can become a BID and the tax can be enforced, more than half the businesses in Kendal must vote in favour of it.
Last year 800 businesses in the Windermere and Bowness area failed to support the proposal when they were balloted.
Kendal’s own mini-referendum is expected to begin next spring after a long consultation process.
Regeneration group Kendal Futures is supervising the BID development. Manager Joanne Golton said they planned to develop the Kendal BID over a longer period of time.
“I hope this will be an exciting development for the town. If the BID idea was passed then SLDC would do the billing but the money would be spent by the businesses themselves. The council wouldn’t get any of the money.”
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said: “A Business Improvement District can be really valuable. The good thing is a relatively small amount of money from businesses can be directed towards things they think will benefit them. It could be street furniture, marketing or something else.
“If businesses vote in favour I would be supportive of the idea but it would be wrong to impose the charge.
“One thing that’s important to say is that if companies say yes the money they then pay shouldn’t then be cut from council spending - this funding should add to money spent on Kendal, not replace it.”