High Streets Minister Penny Mordaunt defends business rates

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The minister responsible for our high streets has today defended the Government’s stance on the controversial business rates system.

High Streets Minister Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, said the decision to delay a review until 2017 was of benefit to hundreds of thousands of businesses.

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The Star has launched a campaign for fairer business rates with an online petition urging the Government to review the system.

Trade associations say the tax is among the biggest issues for business owners in the UK.

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Penny Mordaunt said: “This Government’s long term economic plan is supporting business, local shops and the high street with lower taxes, despite the need to pay off the deficit left by the last administration.

“We have already taken targeted action, including providing over £1 billion of business rates support, introducing a new £1,000 retail discount and doubling small business rate relief - helping an estimated half a million small firms.

“We have also made small business relief easier to claim, capped the increase in rates below inflation this year and our re-occupation discount means occupiers of previously empty properties get 50 per cent off for 18 months.

“Our business rates review will look at improving the longer-term administration involved in the rates so the system is simple, fair and predictable for ratepayers. A 2015 rating revaluation would have meant soaring bills for local firms, with almost three times as many businesses including many on high streets seeing their bills shoot up.”