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Vale4Business Newsletter

Vale4Business Newsletter

Independent Shop Scheme for Abingdon
A scheme aimed at supporting existing retailers, attracting independent shops and increasing town centre vitality in Abingdon, is set be introduced in the town centre this summer.
Vale of White Horse District Council is launching the Independent Shops Project which will see key partners working with the council to develop initiatives to support independent businesses in the town centre.
The scheme will develop a target list of the types of businesses which would complement the independent offering in the town centre.  The district council will then work with landlords and agents to identify and overcome issues which may prevent businesses from moving into the town’s empty shops, particularly those in Bath Street, Stert Street and the High Street.
The project will also work to attract pop-up shops to the town to allow potential retailers to test the market and to attract new independent businesses.
The Independent Shops Project will be managed by Iain Nicholson, a town centre specialist who has worked on a number of successful initiatives, including town team projects in Wantage, Banbury, Swindon and Wallingford. Iain’s work in 2014 to help fill shop units in Wantage was instrumental in the town winning a Great British High Street Award.
Businesses interested in the pop-up shop opportunity or discussing initiatives to strengthen independent business should contact Iain on 01869 350322.
Cllr Mike Murray, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Vale of White Horse District Council, said “We know how frustrating it is to see empty units in the town.  It’s our aim for the Independent Shops Project to have a real impact by supporting existing businesses and attracting new retailers to Abingdon.”
In addition to the Independent Shops Project, Vale of White Horse District Council continues to support businesses in the town by contributing funds and resources to the Abingdon BID.  In year one (2016/17) the Vale contributed approximately £34,000 towards the scheme, in addition to ongoing support and advice from the council’s Economic Development team.
New V4B Ambassador

We welcome Paulette Elliott to our V4B Ambassador team. 
In 2011 Paulette started Huduma Limited, an ambitious emerging technology consultancy based at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. Huduma provides collaborative commercial support for businesses who are looking to take their innovative products and services to market. From helping businesses to identify and exploit new opportunities in the market, connecting with end users and providing hands-on commercial guidance and support, to helping turn big ideas into commercial successes, Paulette has a wealth of experience to offer as a V4B Ambassador.

To read more about Paulette and the V4B Ambassador team, click here.
Oxfordshire Leader Funding Event
Calling farmers, businesses, community organisations, foresters and tourism providers. Oxfordshire LEADER have £1.55 million to award to rural projects in Oxfordshire.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can attend the LEADER Information Event to be held on Tuesday 22nd August, 10am-12pm at The Old Town Hall – Faringdon.
Come along to find out more about what projects are eligible. There will be a brief presentation at 10.15am, otherwise please drop in at any time to talk to LEADER representatives. LEADER will also be sharing information about other local opportunities. It would be great if you can let LEADER know you plan to attend although not essential. The contact details or 01235 422245.
For more information on LEADER, please visit our rural grants page here.

Business Rates Relief

In early July the Government pledged to base future business rate rises on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure, which rises faster and often outpaces growth. Campaigners have long pressed for a change to the CPI inflation measure from the RPI rate because CPI rises more slowly and is increasingly considered a more accurate measure of growth.
“We are committed to switching business rates indexation from RPI to CPI from 2020 and will introduce legislation in due course,” a Treasury spokesperson told the Daily Mail newspaper. The switch should save businesses £1bn in the first three years, according to the Treasury.
There has been a call for the Government to do more however, as business rates bring in approximately £25bn a year therefore this saving amounts to just over 0.1 per cent of the revenue. Proposals to reduce business rates were revealed in last year’s March Budget.
A spokesperson for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils said: “We have identified those small businesses facing large increases in their rates demands as a result of the revaluation and will be supporting them through the three relief schemes announced in the budget – Supporting Small Businesses, Supporting Pubs and a new discretionary relief scheme.
“We have already introduced the Supporting Pubs relief and are working to implement the other two schemes as soon as possible.”
You can find details of the 3 schemes below. For more information on the schemes please contact:
Supporting Small Businesses – to assist ratepayers who as a result of the change to their rateable value at revaluation are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and are therefore facing large increases in the bills. Early on VOWH identified the ratepayers likely to be eligible and set up a special arrangement with them.
Supporting Pubs – Pubs with a rateable value under £100,000 if eligible will receive a £1,000 discount on their bill for 2017/2018. Eligibility criteria was issued by DCLG on 20 June 2017. Relief applications have been drawn up and issued to potentially eligible ratepayers on 11 July 2017 and applications are now coming in and being awarded.
New Discretionary Relief Scheme – The Government announced a £300m discretionary relief fund over four year period from 2017/2018 to support businesses facing the steepest increases in their rates bill following revaluation. Every authority will be provided with a share of the fund and are expected to discuss options with their major precepting authorities at an early stage and to consult them before adopting any scheme.
Whilst waiting for further guidance, VOWH has flagged potentially eligible accounts and is consulting other Oxfordshire authorities to develop general principles of the scheme which will be agreed with Oxfordshire County Council.
You can read an overview of the business rates in the business support section of the V4B website. Click here to find out more.
Business News

The latest business news, locally and nationally: -

Unlocking the digital potential of rural areas - Read more about how digital connectivity, mobile working, Skype meetings and e-commerce have become the norm for many rural businesses.

Changes to automatic pension enrolment - From 1 October 2017, an employer’s legal duties regarding automatic enrolment of eligible staff into a workplace pension begins on the day their first member of staff starts work.

Job Boom for UK Creative Industries - Find out how the UK’s creative industries have today cemented their position as a powerhouse for growth.

Calling Tourism Businesses - Have your say on the tourism sector deal.
Networking and Workshops

Summer holidays are upon us and as such, many networking groups take a break for August. You can find links to double check what's still on in the local area via our networking & business events page here. Want to add your networking group or event? Get in touch!

Whilst networking groups take a summer hiatus, you may be interested in reading our business profile of The Oxfordshire Project. A local networking group with a difference! if you'd like your business to feature in our business profile section. Drop an email to: for more details.
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