MP calls for freeze in business rates

Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale has joined other politicians from around the region to call on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to introduce an immediate two-year freeze on business rates.

The call was outlined in a Commons early day motion tabled by Sir Alan and signed by 18 members from across the political spectrum including Bassetlaw MP John Mann, Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills and Derby MP Chris Williamson.

The move follows pressure from several local business organisations including Mansfield 2020, Mansfield and Ashfield Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Directors.

Last year the Government postponed a business rates revaluation, which would have seen rates falling in many parts of the North and Midlands as they were readjusted to reflect current property values.

On Monday it emerged that there had been an improvement in the number of empty shops on the UK’s High Streets.

According to the Local Data Company, which monitors more than 2,000 town and shopping centres, average vacancy rates were below 14 per cent for the first time in four years.

Sir Alan said: “It is very obvious that during the present period of austerity businesses have been struggling to survive.

“Times have been hard for them and local authorities to compensate for their losses seem to have continually raised or maintained high business rates, which are now undoubtedly out of sync with reality.

“This all-party motion asks the Chancellor to bite the bullet and inform local authorities not to do it.

“Instead they have to work in partnership with local businesses to both help keep them going and to assist their development.

“The need for such an approach is clear.”

Help Needed: Sir Alan Meale (front, right) launching a new store in Mansfield with business leaders and Mayor Tony Egginton (front, right).