HAMPSHIRE has failed to secure a place on a business rates pilot scheme described by Winchester’s finance chief as an “exciting opportunity”.

It follows a Winchester City Council decision in September to apply for a place in the scheme that civic chiefs believed could have boosted the city by more than £1million.

As previously reported, cabinet members on the city council agreed to launch a bid to get Winchester into the new government business rates pilot scheme that would see the city share the risks and rewards with other Hampshire councils during the 2019/20 financial year.

A report said under current predictions, the city council would benefit by keeping more of the business rates it collects on behalf of the government.

However, it would also mean that if business rates were to decrease, councils would be liable to pick up some of the costs.

Speaking at the time, city council finance portfolio holder Cllr Guy Ashton said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with other councils in Hampshire and is another example of the city council working in partnership with others.

“If the pilot is successful it will provide a clear financial benefit to the council and our residents and businesses.

“The pilot will also prepare the council for when the government changes the way business rates are allocated to local authorities in 2020/21”

Cllr Ashton broke the news of the failed bid at a Winchester City Council meeting last week.

It came after a question from fellow Conservative councillor Hugh Lumby, who asked how the city would be affected by the ‘Local Government Finance Settlement’, agreed by central government last month.

Cllr Ashton, pictured, said there would be a number of positive impacts, including a higher than expected ‘New Homes Bonus’ of £2.353million for the city council finances – £434,000 more than predicted.