Government money to help Broxtowe businesses goes unused

A businessman with letters and demands from his council for business rates.
A businessman with letters and demands from his council for business rates.

More than a third of government money that should have gone to businesses in the Broxtowe area has had to be returned.

A total of £243,964 was set aside to help firms who were adversely affected when the government changed the way business rates were calculated.

Broxtowe Borough Council was one of several local authorities across the county who were asked to distribute the cash over two years.

But this week, it was revealed that £83,386 of it has gone back to Westminster. This equates to 34.18 per cent of the total.

The best performing council in the county was Ashfield, which returned only 6.33 per cent of the £286,806 it was given.

Not far behind was Nottingham City Council, which received a huge £1.6 million and distributed all but £130,000 of it.

The worst performing authority was Newark and Sherwood District Council, which returned a whopping 75.96 per cent of the £518,964 it was given.

The figures were collated by chartered surveyors Bankier Sloan.

A spokesman for Bankier Sloan said: “We have despaired over the last two years as councils have, in many cases, failed to alter their schemes in order to insure they spent the free funding provided by central government to help local businesses.

“The funding was ring-fenced and has now been returned to the government.”

A spokesperson for Broxtowe Council said: “The funding in question was the Additional Discretionary Relief scheme.

“The government announced that each council would receive a set amount of funding, and it was for each council to decide on the criteria to qualify for support.

“Broxtowe implemented a scheme that would support a wide range of businesses.

“We agreed to award to all businesses that it felt qualified automatically, and assisted more than 280 businesses within the area.”

Some businesses, say the council, were not entitled to the funding because they were receiving “other relevant reliefs”.

The spokesperson added: “We weren’t able to adapt the scheme once set up, and the amounts funded were not allowed to be carried forward to future years.”