Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:12 pm, 1st April 2014

We should be cutting business rates for small and medium-sized enterprises. I am very surprised that the Government are focusing their help predominantly on the 2% of the largest multinationals—the big firms—and not doing, in my view, sufficient for that 98% of British business, the small and medium-sized enterprises. That will be the backbone of a recovery and we have to do much more to support it.

It is a shame that in the Bill the Government are choosing to go to that 20% rate in April 2015. We could instead use that resource and focus it on the multiplicity of small firms. They are the ones that should be getting a cut in business rates. We calculate that it would deliver an average tax cut of at least £400 for 1.5 million properties through the business rates system, benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises, which after all are the backbone of the economy. They provide the dynamism to get the growth going, which we so desperately need.