Caroline Lucas calls for more tax relief for small businesses
The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, has called on the Government to do more to support small businesses. The measures she is proposing would benefit over 2,600 businesses in Brighton and Hove.*
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 5 December, and Small Business Saturday on 7 December , Lucas has written to the Treasury calling for measures to allow more small businesses to get a discount on their business rates.
Currently, companies are entitled to small business rate relief if they use only one property, and its rateable value is less than £12,000. In her letter to Treasury minister David Gauke, Lucas has reiterated her call for this threshold to be increased to £15,000, which would benefit 563 businesses in Brighton and Hove.*
Companies whose property has a rateable value of £6000 or less can currently qualify for 100% rate relief, but this support is not guaranteed beyond 31 March 2014. Lucas is also calling for this support to continue beyond that date, which would benefit 2,109businesses in Brighton and Hove.*
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“Brighton and Hove’s unique and vibrant small businesses are vital to the city’s economy. As well as forming part of community life, they provide valuable services and jobs.
“The business owners I meet in Brighton Pavilion tell me that they are struggling with business rates, which represent their highest expense after rent and wages. Many of them don’t get much benefit from relief, because their rates are so high.
“This Government says it is pro-small business, and some of the steps it has taken so far are welcome. But we need more businesses to benefit, and for longer.”
Saturday 7 December is Small Business Saturday, and at 12:15pm that day Caroline will be opening HisBE, a new ethical supermarket aimed at regular supermarket shoppers, on 20-21 York Place, London Road.
*Notes to editors
1) Figures from Brighton and Hove City Council Revenues and Benefits Dept
2) More about Hisbe: http://hisbe.co.uk/
3) View full text of letter below:
BUSINESS RATES AND EXTENSION OF RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Ahead of the Autumn Statement and further to previous correspondence, I am writing to you to reiterate my call for the Treasury to both increase the support available to small businesses and to maintain the relief that is currently available beyond March 2014.
There is real concern amongst small businesses in my constituency that the threshold for receipt of tapered relief needs to be raised.
I am, of course, pleased that so far the Government has announced that it is continuing the 100 per cent relief on business rates for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less to 31 March 2014. I would like this support to continue beyond this date.
However, further action from Government is also needed. As you know, business rates are the third biggest expense for many small businesses after rent and wages. Small businesses in Brighton Pavilion tell me that they are not helped by small business rate relief as their rates are so high. I therefore reiterate my previous call for an increase in the threshold from £12,000 to £15,000 of rateable value for the receipt of tapered relief, with this increase in relief funded by the Treasury.
This would represent a real help to small businesses in my constituency and I should be grateful for your response to this letter.