Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:27 pm on 22nd February 2017.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 3:27 pm, 22nd February 2017

My hon. Friend makes an important point about the challenges that businesses, particularly those on the high street, will face in areas such as Bromley. I would be more than happy to meet the leader of his council and other local representatives to learn more about those challenges.

Property-based business taxes have been around in one form or another for many decades—centuries, even. Nobody would argue that the current system is perfect, and it is right to ask whether the time has come for some kind of reform. The Treasury’s 2015 consultation showed little appetite for replacing the whole business rate system. It remains a vital part of the local government finance settlement, and its importance will only increase with the introduction of business rate retention. However, with underlying concerns about globalisation, international tax structures and the struggle between the high street and the virtual world, there is clearly room for improvement. We will look closely at all possible steps to make the system fairer and more sustainable in the short and long term.