Edinburgh Woollen Mill has been granted a two-year business rate exemption for its Carlisle headquarters.

Carlisle City Council’s executive approved the application on Monday.

This means the national firm, owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, will save more than £250,000 in business rates on Global House, in Castle Street, but it comes at a cost of £102,000 to the local authority.

Leading councillors are confident that the economic benefits to the city will outweigh the price they have paid.

The application was made under a policy which encourages the occupation of large, hard to let, empty buildings, something that was used as an incentive to EWM to relocate its headquarters to the city.

It was a resubmission of an application approved in 2016, which lapsed due to extensive, multi-million pound redevelopment of the building.

In order to be considered for the discretionary business rate relief a company must occupy a large commercial property with a rateable value of £51,000 or more. It must also commit to a minimum occupation of five years, though EWM confirmed it will stay in the city “significantly in excess” of this.

Finally, the council’s ruling executive must be satisfied that granting the application was in the interests of tax payers.

Councillor Les Tickner, who is responsible for Finance, Governance and Resources, said: “This is the biggest one we have ever done.

“We took a balanced view on the number of jobs and the location and the fact that we weren’t getting any rates when it was empty.”

He said EWM’s presence in Carlisle has brought 300 jobs to the city and has rejuvenated the historic quarter.

Dr Tickner, who is also the council’s deputy leader, said the authority will do whatever it can to retain existing businesses and attract new firms to the city.

EWM, which will continue to pay full rates at its English Street store and Kingmoor Park depot, has said it is "keen to show other national and international businesses that Carlisle is a great place to do business" and wants to encourage more companies to relocate to the city.

It has put Carlisle at the centre of its global business and aims to create more jobs for years and decades to come.