COMMONS

Local authorities must be at heart of business rates review

04 March 2014

Clive Betts, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, welcomed today’s report of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on The Retail Sector.

Quote from the Chair

Commenting on the report's call for a wholesale review of business rates, Clive Betts said:

I welcome the call for a wholesale review of business rates. Any review must, however, take account of the vital part business rates play in financing local authorities. Local authorities must play a full part in the review.

The Government's business rate retention scheme is intended not only to drive local economic development, but give local authorities greater control over locally raised resources. Without business rates, or an equivalent replacement tax, paid to local authorities it is difficult to see how the Government's policy of localism can prosper.

My Committee is currently examining whether cities should be given greater control over tax and spending. Business rates are central to such proposals.  We shall take the BIS Committee's conclusions into account.

Turning to the BIS Committee's recommendations on the future of High Streets, Clive Betts said:

The CLG Committee shares the widespread concern about the future of our High Streets and Town Centres. We are currently getting ready to examine how the National Planning Policy Framework is operating. The part planning can play in safeguarding and enhancing our Town Centres is likely to feature in that inquiry.

I am confident our inquiry will build on and complement the work of the BIS Committee.

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