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Caroline Lucas urges Brighton small business rates cut
5:00am Tuesday 3rd December 2013 in News
Brighton MP Caroline Lucas has urged the Chancellor to cut business rates for struggling city firms.
The Green Brighton Pavilion MP has written to the Treasury calling for measures to allow more small businesses to get a discount on their business rates.
The call for reform comes ahead of George Osborne's Chancellor's Autumn Statement on Thursday and Small Business Saturday on December 7.
According to Ms Lucas, the new measures would benefit over 2,600 businesses in Brighton and Hove.
Currently companies are entitled to small business rate relief if they use only one property and its rateable value is less than £12,000.
In her letter to Treasury minister David Gauke, Dr Lucas called for this threshold to be increased to £15,000.
Firms whose property has a rateable value of £6,000 or less can currently qualify for 100% rate relief, but this support is not guaranteed beyond March 31 next year.
The Green MP is also calling for relief to continue beyond that date, which would leave 2,109 city businesses better off.
David Sewell, chairman of the North Laine Traders' Association, said rate reform would be a “huge help” for struggling smaller firms in Brighton and Hove.
He said: “High business rates hinders independent and young businesses from keeping their heads above water.
“The rates have been going up for about 10 years and it's got to stop. Moving the threshold to £15,000 would be a good start.
“Anything that Caroline Lucas can do to help would be warmly welcomed.”
Industry leaders, including Sir Philip Green and Dalton Philips, have called for business rates to be cut, with the British Chambers of Commerce branding the system “iniquitous” and “broken”.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “Brighton and Hove's unique and vibrant small businesses are vital to the city's economy. As well as forming part of community life, they provide valuable services and jobs.
“The business owners I meet in Brighton Pavilion tell me that they are struggling with business rates, which represent their highest expense after rent and wages. Many of them don't get much benefit from relief, because their rates are so high.
“This Government says it is pro-small business, and some of the steps it has taken so far are welcome. But we need more businesses to benefit, and for longer.”
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