West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has welcomed the new Government’s support for small businesses with a raft of commitments announced in the Queen’s speech.
Mr Thomas has long campaigned for a fairer deal for small businesses, repeatedly raising the issue of business rates in Parliament, in one speech calling the the current system of business rates “indefensible”.
He argued that business rates are an outdated tax that reflect a business building rather than the business itself, causing significant harm to the high street.
In the Queen’s Speech, the Prime Minister said the Government would carry out a fundamental review of business rates as well as increasing the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent, extending that discount to cinemas and music venues and introducing an additional discount for pubs.
This follows legislation in the last administration slashing a third off the business rate bills of shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs with a rateable value below £51,000.
The new Government will also bring forward the next business rates revaluation by one year from 2022 to 2021 and move business rates revaluations from a five-yearly cycle to a three-yearly cycle, with the aim of ensuring that business rates bills are more up to date and reflect properties’ current rental values.
Mr Thomas said: “It is excellent news that the new Government clearly appreciates the effect the current outdated form of business rates is having on our high streets.
“Shop owners in the centre of towns are already struggling with the challenge of out-of-town and online retailers and expensive parking charges and I hope the review will show that a completely new, equitable system is required.
“I am glad that the Government is showing urgency in getting to grips with the problem as small businesses are the lifeblood of West Cornwall’s and Scilly’s economy and I am confident that we can get fairer deal for them.”