LOCAL COUNCILS will be in line for a business tax boost if they allow fracking operations to take place in their areas, the prime minister has confirmed.
English local authorities that back fracking will receive all of the business rates collected from shale gas exploration and extraction, rather than the typical 50%.
The government claims the initiative will support 74,000 jobs and drive down bills, the BBC reports.
Officials said the commitment would see councils gain an extra £1.7m a year per fracking site, while mining companies had already pledged to give communities £100,000 per test drilling, plus a further 1% of revenues if shale gas is found.
Energy minister Michael Fallon claimed areas supporting fracking could benefit as much as £10m if shale gas was successfully extracted in their communities, through a 1% levy on company profits from fracking.
The British Geological Survey estimates there is 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England. The fracking process to extract it has caused controversy over fears it can lead to earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.
French company Total confirmed it will be the first major energy company to invest in fracking in the UK, with £30m set aside to support two exploratory wells in Lincolnshire.
David Cameron said: “A key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future is to back businesses with better infrastructure.
“That’s why we’re going all out for shale. It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country.”
The current business rates system is over-complex and reform is needed, but reforms should focus first of all on simplifying the appeals process, particularly for businesses which are subject to business rates exemption
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