Call for government to end north/south divide on business rates

Reunion CafeA Yorkshire MP is demanding the Government step in to address the way businesses in the region have been punished by the decision to postpone the revaluation of business rates.

Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley & Spen, said that while businesses in London and the south east have benefited from the present business rates regime, those in other regions appear to be losing out.

In 2013 the Coalition government announced, without warning, that it was postponing the revaluation of business rates.

“What this means is that businesses have been paying rates during the most difficult, depressed climate that were set before the financial crash. They will have to continue paying at this level for two more years,” said Mrs Cox

“The government’s gaze is firmly fixed on London and the south east and upon helping larger businesses. I am worried they have no concern for business in Yorkshire, particularly smaller enterprises in the retail sector in our town centres.”

Mrs Cox has tabled a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to take action to address this problem.

“Speaking with traders in towns in Batley & Spen it is clear that business rates are a major issue and a major barrier to both new start ups and growth for existing businesses,” she said.

Business rates are based on valuations made in 2008, prior to the world financial crash and ensuing recessions. By postponing the revaluation the crucial link with rental values has been severed.

Mrs Cox added: “With rents falling, business rates have stayed as they were. A revaluation would have meant business rates fall in many parts of the country.”

Mrs Cox is now calling on the government to address this problem urgently, help small businesses and towns by creating a more conducive environment in which smaller businesses and town centres can grow and thrive.

She also asks the government to use its imminent review of the business rates system to ensure there is a fair mechanism that enables companies to generate jobs, create wealth and growth within communities.

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