Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, the minister responsible for business rates, addressed the All Party Small Shops Group in Westminster to discuss business rates in light of the Chancellor’s announcements in last week’s Autumn Financial Statement.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The measures announced in the Autumn Statement will help our members by reducing their rates bills in 2015. In the longer term, we need to find a fairer and more transparent system for calculating business rates. I am very pleased the minister attended the small shops group meeting today and it is clear he is open to ideas from small shops.”
During the discussion, the minister said: “Business rates have moved up the political agenda and we have responded with a significant package of announcements in the Autumn Statement. We are in the market for ideas on the future of business rates and I welcome the contribution of small shops to the review.”
Gauke addressed the committee, chaired by Simon Danczuk MP, which included MPs from across the political spectrum and small shops representatives. James Lowman took part in a panel discussion alongside other small business representatives: the British Independent Retail Association, the Rural Shops Alliance and the Booksellers Association.
Last week’s Autumn Financial Statement featured a variety of announcements about business rates, including: a full review into the future structure of business rates to be completed by 2016; introducing a Retail Business Rate Discount, giving retail businesses up to £1,500 discount; an extension of the annual cap of 2% on the business rates multiplier; and an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief.