Local Government Finance

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 3rd February 2010.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party 4:58 pm, 3rd February 2010

The Secretary of State fails to recognise that the decrease for those companies is funded by increases for other companies. If the Government had looked at the impact assessment of whether those companies could afford the increase, he would be on stronger ground. The reality is that those getting the biggest rises far outweigh the number getting the biggest decreases. In eight out of nine English regions, more companies will see a 20 per cent.-plus rise than will see a 20 per cent. fall. The Secretary of State cannot claim that the Government are pursuing a strong policy when they have not even bothered to look at how the 40 per cent. of companies that face a rise will manage to pay it. If the Government's calculations are wrong-not that they particularly have any-business rate income could be destabilised.

It would be better to allow all companies to enjoy the minor reduction that they would all get from the inflationary decrease that would have resulted from the multiplier, had the revaluation not gone ahead. Instead of playing party politics, the Secretary of State should get out to the regions that will see the biggest losers and talk to companies about how they will afford to pay. Those increases alone could stifle the recovery before it gets going.

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