Current Lobbying Activity
Last month Telefonica launched Wayra, a new technology accelerator programme open to budding tech entrepreneurs. Aimed at innovative and original tech start-ups and open to entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds, the programme hopes to find and nurture the best technology ideas and talent in the country.
Submit your project by the 22nd April, and you could gain investment of up to €50,000 plus mentoring, access to technology and use of the state of the art Wayra Academy in London, opening in May.
For more information, visit the Wayra website.
This year, you will notice a Gevernment increase to the Retail Price Increase in your Business Rates (NNDR) bill. The Government has decided to put in place a business rates deferral scheme which will give you the option of spreading the Retail Price Index increase in your 2012-13 bill over three years, to help businesses manage their cash flow during the downturn.
You will be able to defer payment of 3.2% of your 2012-13 bill – which is equivalent to 60% of the Retail Price Index increase - until 2013-14 and 2014-15. You will then pay back the total amount deferred over the next two years.
The council has launched a consultation that sets out a new vision for the running of the city and how public services will be delivered. At its heart lies civic responsibility, everyone doing their bit for the good of the city. For example, this could mean that businesses:
• Contribute to their local area, and help to diversify public services
• Take responsibility for the impact of their business on the local area
• Take on local employees, including more apprentices
In return, the council will:
• Look to target business rate discounts at companies supporting their area
• Help to provide superfast broadband and improvements in commercial infrastructure
• Provide support for the “night time economy” such as extra bin collections and licensing enforcement
The consultation will run until 10th February 2012. A Civic Contract for Westminster can be downloaded here.
New online courses in Food Safety and Health & Safety will soon be available for you to complete within your workplace at your own pace. The special introductory price is £24.99, and for a further £20 candidates can complete the accredited exam. Discounts are available for group bookings.
Westminster City Council offers a specialist training service which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and will help equip you and your team with the knowledge to protect your customers and your business. Health & Safety and Food Safety courses can be delivered either at your premises or at our offices in Victoria or Marylebone.
Find out more or book online, or call 020 7641 1052 or email email@example.com
As part of the council’s efforts to be more efficient and offer more streamlined services, we are changing the way we provide our commercial waste bags and cardboard tape.
From 1st July 2011, instead of having to pick them up from one of three One Stop Services in Westminster, your commercial waste products will be sent directly to you. To make it as easy as possible for you to order and receive your bags/tape, you can order and pay online or call 020 7641 6180.
Delivery is free of charge – so why not make the change now, and order your next batch of products quickly and easily online.
Our commercial waste service is also now exempt from VAT - so you don’t have to worry about claiming it back.
For the first time ever, businesses across London are coming together to undertake the capital’s largest co-ordinated test of IT, telecommunications and transport requirements.
The ‘Stress Test’, scheduled for 8 and 9 May 2012, aims to simulate conditions during the London 2012 Games , when many businesses will employ alternative working arrangements. It is free to participate.
Businesses of all sizes and their employees are encouraged to implement their ‘Games-time’ alternative working arrangements on 8 and 9 May and simultaneously conduct a simple and confidential online survey provided by Deloitte. The survey results will help organisations’ evaluate their plans and provide an overall industry view of the measures being adopted. Register online.
Transport for London (TfL) will soon be contacting the businesses most affected by temporary road changes as part of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) for the London 2012 Games. Some changes are likely to have an impact on logistical arrangements particularly collections and deliveries, which may need to be moved. Visit our Olympic travel pages or TfL for more information.
Current Lobbying Activity
As a local authority, the council may collect your business rates, but the complex funding arrangements of local government means that the amount of business activity in Westminster bears little relation the amount of money we receive back from the Treasury. This system penalises Westminster businesses, as your contributions are used to fund services across the country, leaving Westminster council tax payers to pick up the bill for additional services.
Councillors have been asking for greater local retention of business rates. From Westminster this might sound self-interested, but councils across the country are making the same arguments.
The Coalition Government has recently published a consultation on reform of the business rate regime. The Local Government Resource Review, which closes on 24th October 2011, considers new systems for allowing authorities to retain a larger proportion of rates paid by local firms in order to incentivise local economic development.
Westminster City Council has long argued that with more resources we could do more to support local businesses and promote Westminster as a place to start and build a business.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are joint ventures between businesses and public bodies. In providing a focus for local policies that overcome local problems, partnerships between businesses and the council can make as significant a contribution to development in Westminster – and London as a whole – as in other parts of the country.
London is an exciting and diverse city, and Westminster is at the heart of this. There are more businesses based here than anywhere else in the country. The policies that work best for us, and for your businesses, are not necessarily the same as the policies that are best for all cities or other London boroughs. We are supportive of Local Enterprise Partnerships that would help our economic strategies to reflect this.
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