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Chamber calls for clarity on business rates pledge

24 February 2017

Business leaders in Greater Birmingham today welcomed the pledge from the Prime Minister that the government is looking at “appropriate relief” for firms hit by business rate rises but they called for clarity on their plans.

Mrs May’s statement during Prime Minister’s questions  follows an earlier promise from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid that the Government would provide measures to “help certain businesses facing particular difficulties” in relation to business rate reform.

The Government had faced severe criticism from business groups, including Greater Birmingham Chambers of commerce (GBCC), and some MPs that the proposed reforms would lead to severe hardship for sections of the business community, particularly small retailers.

This is the first time since 2010 that rateable values have being reviewed which will mean changes to how much firms are paying in business rates.

Paul Faulkner (pictured), chief executive of the GBCC, said: “It’s great to hear that the Prime Minister has listened to the business community’s concerns over the proposed reforms to business rates and the detrimental impact this will have on certain firms.

“However, there is still a degree of ambiguity over the term of ‘appropriate relief’ and that’s why we are calling on the government to go further and explicitly express how they intend to help companies that will be directly affected by these reforms.

“With the Spring Budget on the horizon, we still want to see the Chancellor to streamline the administration of business rates to bolster small business confidence.

“Furthermore, simple steps such as bringing forward the move to peg the multiplier to the CPI and simplifying the valuation appeal process will free up time and money for companies to invest in channels which will encourage growth and expansion.”

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