Cap on rates is not enough

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Belper MP Pauline Latham has welcomed a cap on business rates announced in the Chancellors Autumn Statement, saying it will encouarge small firms in Mid-Derbyshire.

However, business chiefs say George Osborne’s plans do not go far enough and have called for urgent reform in the way the charges are worked out.

Increases in business rates in England are to be capped at two per cent, instead of being linked to inflation it was announced on Thursday.

Mrs Latham said the cap would mean ensure that firms have the disposable capital they need to grow. However, Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce said a freeze on business rates would have given firms of all sizes more confidence.

In a statement, Mrs Latham said: “The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement clearly indicates that economic growth is well underway, and I am excited to see the impact that his business-friendly plans will have on Mid Derbyshire.”

Meanwhile, the chamber reacted to Mr Osborne’s by saying more changes needed to be made and that the system was in need of an overhaul.

Chris Hobson, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce’s Head of Information and Representation, said:“The Chamber welcomes the two per cent cap on business rates but believes it doesn’t go far enough. A freeze on business rates would have given firms of all sizes more confidence.

“A £1,000 refund on business rates for premises with a rateable value of £50,000 and under is also welcome, as is the halving of business rates for new shops.

“Allowing businesses to pay their rates by monthly instalment instead of up front in a single lump sum will also improve cashflow for many smaller firms.

“But it is very much tinkering at the edges and only a full and robust reform is going to make any significant difference.

“The whole process is fundamentally flawed and in urgent need of reform. This Autumn Statement was an opportunity to announce and drive that reform and it hasn’t happened, which is disappointing.”

The Government said it would consider reforming business rates after the election.

The Chancellor also tasked Jobcentres with making sure anyone under the age of 21 was actively encouraged to find work and if they had not done so in six months then they will have to get them on to traineeships.

Mr Hobson said: “Young people don’t leave school and college with the skills which make them employable.”