Westminster council has become the first in the UK to urge the government to allow it to keep a higher proportion of its commercial property taxes.
A conglomerate representing the West End has put in the application on behalf of the Westminster council and others, City A.M. can reveal.
The West End Partnership (WEP), which represents the interests of Westminster council, Camden council, the Mayor of London, and others in the region, has requested that government allow the area to retain more of its business rates, potentially boosting its economic output by an extra £12.3bn.
WEP has urged government to allow Westminster council to keep 6.5 per cent, rather than four per cent, of the £1.8bn it generates in local business rates. This money would be used to help finance a programme of infrastructure investment in the West End that is forecast to generate £3.8bn in tax and revenues.
Funding of £409m is required to start the projects, and if Westminster retained more of its business rates, it would then be able to borrow funds to finance the rest of the programme.
In a submission to the government last summer, WEP argued:
The West End is not just for Londoners. It generates and supports jobs for thousands of people across the UK.
The West End's taxes support infrastructure investment and public services across the UK. The area is an icon in the national consciousness – it belongs to the nation as a whole.
The department for communities and local government said it was still considering the business case and will respond "in due course".