BUSINESS RATE MOVE WELCOMED BUT OBSESSION WITH ELECTED MAYORS CONTINUE
Commenting on today’s announcement from George Osborne that local authorities will be able to keep 100% of all business rates without sending it to Whitehall first of all, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, Lib Dem Group Leader at the Local Government Association, said:
“It was Liberal Democrats in Government that pushed for a review of business rates and we as a party have long campaigned for power to be returned to local communities. So this is a step forward for local democracy. But we will want to ensure that areas less likely to see a growth in business rates are not left behind with these reforms.
“But the Chancellor has also announced an Infrastructure Tax which only an elected City Mayor will be able to levy. So outside these areas, local authorities who decide that they need to invest in new infrastructure would be powerless to act. Once again, the Chancellor’s obsession with mayors is leaving other local communities to drive their economies with one hand tied behind their back.
It had better not be 100% of all business rates or Chelsea and Westminster councils will be giving a dividend to their council tax payers while Durham will lose £40+ million. The Beeb are reporting it as 100% of all "new" business rates, which might work. Either way, the odds are that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Is this a liberal policy?
Nigel Martin, Lib Dem county councillor in (you guessed) Durham
Whilst I appreciate the sentiments regarding business rates I do think it worth pointing out that businesses are left unprotected by this move. An unfriendly regime is at liberty to impose a heavy burden on businesses that are already suffering from heavy competition from online competitors who do not have this charge.