LONDON, January 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Croydon council is offering free business rates for up to a year as part of a bid to attract new firms and start-ups to the area.
The offer, backed by the London Borough of Croydon and the Mayor of London, is the only one of its kind in the UK and also includes discounted rents across six key buildings in the town centre.
Croydon hopes to attract more than 50 SMEs to the scheme, with businesses from the tech, engineering and financial services sectors in particular being targeted.
Bill Grimsey, the veteran retailer who has recently been appointed to advise Labour on the high street and business rates, said: "Initiatives like this - reducing business rates and encouraging new firms to an area - are just what we need to revitalise our town centres.
"We are going through a time of change with our high streets, and attracting SMEs from all sectors is vital for places like Croydon to ensure other businesses flourish alongside."
Councillor Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development at Croydon council, said: "We're really proud to be working with the GLA on this unique initiative, which is set to bring a host of new businesses to Croydon. The relief on business rates together with the offer on rents is yet another reason for firms to choose Croydon as their base, together with the excellent transport links and the fact that the area continues to attract investment."
The news comes as the government's business select committee prepares to publish its long-awaited report into the state of UK retail, which is expected to recommend a root and branch review of the business rates system.
As well as new companies moving into Croydon, the business rate relief scheme, which is available until March 2015, is also open to existing Croydon-based businesses that are expanding and require larger office space.
The initiative runs until March 2015. In order to qualify for a full year of rate relief businesses would need to join the scheme by April 2014.
All information relating to the scheme is available at http://www.croydonratefreeforayear.co.uk.
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Robert Pine / Andrea Klettner ING MEDIA
SOURCE ING Media