Northants defends Silverstone venture

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A county councillor has accused Northants County Council (NCC) of missing out on “a potential windfall” with regard to Silverstone circuit.

After news that the new Wing complex at Silverstone led to £1.6 million in profits last year, councillor Chris Lofts said Northants should receive a fair share of the business rates generated at the circuit.

NCC invested £10 million in the new wing, which is actually in Bucks.

Lib Dem Mr Lofts said: “Obviously, it is good news that Silverstone is doing well. However, business rates usually go to the authority where the building is located.

“Given that Northants has invested a significant amount of money into the Wing, it only seems fair that the hard-pressed taxpayers of Northants see some of the benefit of increased profits.

“We are seeing swingeing cuts from the Conservatives in Northants to frontline services.

“If they had set up a deal with the district councils concerned, and Bucks County Council, when they invested the money, perhaps some of these cuts could be avoided or more money could be invested to boost jobs and growth.

“The Conservatives appear to have missed out on a potential windfall that Northants desperately needs.”

But an NCC spokesman said its investment had been sound and would help support the local economy.

He said: “Economically the Grand Prix and the motorsport industry in general are of enormous importance to Northants.

“The county council agreed a loan to Silverstone and is providing vital funding to help towards the future development of the circuit and the creation of vital new jobs in the economic downturn.

“The investment is sound in terms of the proposed rate of return to be achieved. In addition, through helping Silverstone to achieve its development plans, the authority will also support the regional and national economy.”