Anne Main calls for debate to tackle high business rates

20th December 2018

Anne Main calls for a Parliamentary debate on business rates in high property areas and calls for a business rate relief escalator to replace the 'cliff edge' rate relief announced in the Budget for properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

We cannot fail to notice that the high street has been on its knees. Indeed, many shops and pubs have been closing. I know there was a business rate relief of £51,000 in the Chancellor’s Budget. However, in a high house and property value area such as mine, £51,000 really is not helping at all. May we have an urgent debate on what more we can do to recognise that there is a cliff edge for very many businesses in prosperous areas and they get no relief whatsoever from the Chancellor’s business rate relief? Please may we debate as a matter of urgency why we should have not a cliff edge, but an escalator to encourage businesses to survive?

My hon. Friend raises a very important point. We know that the high street is changing and that more people are using online shopping routes. On the other hand, we also know that Britain’s retailers support over 3 million jobs and contribute over £90 billion to our economy, so it is absolutely right that we do everything we can to support them. She observed that we are cutting business rates, but pointed out that that has not helped in her own constituency. I would say to her that the Government and retailers come together through our Retail Sector Council. I encourage her to raise this in the Finance Bill debate on the second day back from recess, when she can discuss directly with Treasury Ministers what more can be done.

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