Derek has today championed the pressing needs of local businesses by urging the Chancellor George Osborne to rethink the 5.6% increase in the business rate planned for April, and instead to cap business rate increases at 2% starting from April 2012 for the duration of this Parliament.
Supporting the campaign led by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), Derek believes this to be a pro-growth proposal that will help struggling retailers and high street businesses in challenging economic times.
"It is vital that government does all it can to support businesses that are under significant pressure in these difficult economic circumstances. That is why I believe the Chancellor's deferral scheme for 60% of business rates for two years as announced in the Autumn Statement last year does not go far enough, only postponing the inevitable requirement to pay these inflated rates.
What we need now from George Osborne is for him to think again about his excessive 5.6% proposed increase in the business rate scheduled for this April, and for him to heed the call from these major organisations representing thousands of retailers across the country, to introduce a rate increase cap of 2% for the remainder of the Parliament.
This would save UK businesses an estimated £849 million, giving them certainty on future rates so as to allow them to prepare for the long term, and providing them with the confidence to grow and increase employment levels.
This is what local businesses need, and I support them in asking ministers to look again at their policies, in order to deliver growth and confidence for the future. I have written to the Chancellor to express these concerns."