CABINET CALL: By Coun Peter Cupland, of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet
Several councillors and I are aware of concerns expressed by local small businesses owners about the disproportionate levels of increase in business rates, predominately in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge.
My main worry is that these increases could lead to firms going out of business and turn high streets in the district into retail wastelands.
Long Sutton shows in particular how a small market town can thrive without a large supermarket, with local residents supporting small businesses in and around the market place.
So I think businesses and residents in Long Sutton are definitely deserving of a pat on the back.
Over the past few years, local businesses have done exactly what the government has wanted, growing the economy and reducing unemployment, only to be hit in the face with these huge increases in business rates.
South Holland District Council has little power over the level of these increases – we are merely a collection arm for Whitehall.
However, one of our main focuses is encouraging the local economy to be vibrant with continued growth and as a councillor I will work to help achieve this.
I also don’t want to sit back and let these rises go unchallenged because constituents are complaining to me personally.
So what I have done is send an open letter to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, outlining the concerns of our small businesses and councillors.
We are not the only council to do this and the more representations made to government on this subject, the better.
With a mounting strong national voice concerning this matter, I hope the government may set up a discretionary and transitional relief programme for affected businesses.
I am an ardent supporter of the self-employed, they are the backbone of Britain and I will do everything possible to support them.