A Reporter Series campaign to freeze business rates for local firms gained national backing when two party leaders threw their support behind the cause.
The Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, have endorsed a campaign to freeze and overhaul the business rate for high streets.
The Reporter Series is campaigning for a better deal for local businesses.
Mr Miliband said: “Businesses, particularly small firms need help and have repeatedly called on the government to support them.
“Rather than simply capping the increase in business rates, as David Cameron has done, I would like to see a cut in business rates in 2015 followed by a freeze in 2016, paid for by not going ahead with government’s additional corporation tax cut for the largest firms.
“This would benefit millions of small businesses.
“If we are to build prosperity for the long term we must give help to the many businesses which will create most of the jobs and the wealth of the future – not just a few at the top.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I welcome the fact that they (Johnston Press) are championing the need for change in business rates. It’s something the Liberal Democrats in Government recognise and an important review is under way to try and deliver a better system which helps create and secure more jobs.”
But Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell said it would be better to wait until after the Chancellor’s autumn statement to make a decision on business rates.
He said the statement may include proposals on the percentage of business rates that would go to local authorities and to central government.
He said: “Until we know who is getting the money it is too early to make a change to the rate.
“We need to see the maths first.”
He said that the Government’s policies of allowing a £1,000 discount to businesses and halving the rate for businesses in new builds or empty lots for two years showed a commitment to helping high streets.
He said: “The message is we have to help the high street, £1,000 this year is a good demonstration of that but it is better to do it right than do it quickly.”
Mike Wood, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, has not yet given us his views on the campaign.
Click here to sign our petition calling for business rates to be frozen immediately and an urgent review of the business rates system.