Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

05 OCT 2015

Radical changes for business rates to revitalise High Street

Steve Brine has firmly backed Conservative plans to revitalise Britain's high streets by allowing councils to set their own business rates, while keeping all the money raised.

Speaking at party conference, the Chancellor George Osborne said: "I am embarking on the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory. We're going to allow local government to keep the rates they collect from business. All £26b of business rates will be kept by councils instead of being sent up to Whitehall.

"Right now, we collect much more in business rates than we give back in the main grant. So we will phase out this local government grant altogether. But we will also give councils extra power and responsibilities for running their communities.

"The established transfers will be there on day one, but thereafter, all the real growth in revenue will be yours to keep. Attract a business, and you attract more money. Regenerate a high street, and you'll reap the benefits. Grow your area, and you'll grow your revenue too."

He also confirmed that the Conservatives will abolish the uniform business rate entirely, which is the single national tax rate that up until now, Central Government has demanded from every council.

He added: "Any local area will be able to cut business rates as much as they like to win new jobs and generate wealth."

Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine said: "The issue of business rates is something that has come up many times when I have canvassed traders across Winchester & Chandler's Ford, and this really is a radical change.

"For me, allowing local government to keep the rates they collect from business while giving councils the power to cut business rates to boost growth is very much the right thing to do.

"Fixing the current broken system of financing local government will be a huge boost to local growth, helping to attract even more business and create even more jobs locally. I look forward to seeing more details in the Spending Review, and to discussing the practicalities as details come forward with my two local councils."

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said: "I am delighted that the Chancellor has acknowledged the benefits of our long-held desire for funding of public services being controlled nearer to where the money is raised and spent.

"Winchester City Council, like other local authorities, is looking at many different ways to fund and deliver the services that its residents need in the most efficient way possible. We look forward to receiving the details of this proposal in due course."

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