Calls for action on ‘crippling’ business rates

Jo Cox MP

Jo Cox MP

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Politicians and traders have called for the government to take action on damaging business rates.

They said postponing a revaluation of the rates paid by business has put serious pressure on town centres in the Reporter series area.

Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox (Lab) welcomed cross party calls by Kirklees councillors to hold an enquiry into the problem and tabled a parliamentary motion for an investigation.

She said: “Businesses and traders in Batley and Spen have been paying overly high rates during the most difficult, depressed climate.

“Present business rates are based on valuations done before the banks crashed our economy. Many rents have been reduced to reflect the post-crash market but the business rates have not followed suit.

“This has benefited businesses in London and the south east but has been detrimental to businesses here.

“I hope councillors will launch an inquiry into this issue so we can establish just how badly local businesses have been disadvantaged by the government.

“I hope also that the council will identify ways it can support businesses, to make up for the lack of support from the government.”

Dewsbury chamber of trade president Trish Makepeace also said our region got a raw deal on rates.

She said: “We have been fighting for long enough to get a better deal so if she can do anything then it would be wonderful.

“It’s the biggest problem crippling our town centre. Whether anything will be done about it is another matter.”

Before the general election the Conservative Party said if it was elected it would make Dewsbury an enterprise zone, which would mean business rates would be scrapped for five years for firms moving into vacant properties.

Mrs Cox’s motion has been supported by 24 MPs, including Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn.