Business Rents

Part of Petition – in the House of Commons at 10:42 pm on 10th November 1992.

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Photo of Angela Browning Angela Browning , Tiverton 10:42 pm, 10th November 1992

I have raised a lot of problems today, and in the short time available in an Adjournment debate I have little opportunity to outline in detail the possible solutions.

A number of organisations, most notably the Property Market Reform Group, with which I have had a number of interesting discussions, and a group of businesses organised by Sir Desmond Pitcher, are working hard on behalf of Britain's small businesses to establish a consensus for reform and to hammer out practical solutions.

Among those which seem to be the most interesting are the establishment of a lands tribunal to take over the arbitration of disputes and the setting up of an open register of rents to provide information for those arbitrations. I therefore urge my hon. Friend the Minister urgently to consider a complete review of the legislation covering leasehold law. This will he a positive measure by Government to assist small businesses without being a burden on the taxpayer and will be widely welcomed.

To date, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the various other landlord interests have shown no interest in reforming the system. The previous price of such grievous and indeed callous inaction—mounting unemployment and high streets littered with "To Let" signs falling into decay—is too high. The Government must step in and act in the name of natural justice and to free up the market and safeguard the future of thousands of small businesses from Tiverton to Tyneside.