From the website of Colchester Lib Dem MP Bob Russell :
September 11, 2013 2:41 PM
Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to scrap Business Rates on small shops – and for the introduction of a levy on out-of-town retail car parks so that the Treasury does not lose revenue overall. He made the call during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons.
And to his pleasant surprise, the Chancellor, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, said in answer that “I will take the suggestion as a good submission for a future fiscal statement.”
Afterwards Liberal Democrat Sir Bob said that if Business Rates could be scrapped for small shops – such as specialist shops in Colchester Town Centre as well as those in the various neighbourhoods of the town, and also in villages – this would help many of them to have a better chance of survival in increasingly difficult trading times.
Sir Bob added that there was not a level playing field for retail establishments, with out-of-town stores having a major advantage over established town centres and smaller shops. “A levy on car parks at these mega retail locations would be negligible for the overall turnover they enjoy, but the sum collected would offset the cost of removing Business Rates from small shops and neighbourhood stores which would thus tick a big box in the Coalition Government’s localism agenda and the last Labour Government’s sustainable communities legislation.”
His idea is not a new one, but in the past his efforts have been rebuffed.
Sir Bob observed: “The Chancellor’s comment has encouraged me to now follow this up with a formal proposition for the Treasury to consider for the next fiscal review.”