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Small Business Rate Relief

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 21 October 2010

13. What progress he has made on his proposals for the future of small business rate relief; and if he will make a statement. (18472)

The coalition agreement contained a commitment to find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic. We have had discussions with interested parties, and we are now assessing the options.

Milton Keynes is a dynamic and entrepreneurial city, and the Government’s moves on small business rate relief are most welcome, but will the Minister tell the House what more the Government could do to encourage local councils to be more flexible in offering different incentives to new businesses?

We are considering the possibility of giving local authorities wide-ranging discretionary powers to grant business rate discounts, so that they can respond to local circumstances by reducing local businesses’ bills. We are also taking steps to ensure that no new supplementary business rate can be imposed without the backing of local firms in a referendum.