Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:13 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 12:13 pm, 1st November 2018

I will certainly refer that private Member’s Bill to the colleagues who have direct responsibility for those issues. I think the hon. Gentleman’s broader point was about the vibrancy of our high streets. Banks, post offices, shops and other businesses are intrinsic to creating the sense of a community hub. Our high streets are the heart of our communities, and they are greatly valued. We need vibrant high streets where commerce and communities meet and where people from all backgrounds can come together. I think that is recognised across the House.

It is concerning for many people to see our high streets struggling as shopping habits change, which is why this week’s Budget made it a priority to champion them and help them to adapt, with a significant £1.5 billion package of support. That includes a cut to business rates for small retailers worth almost £900 million over two years, reducing their bills by over a third and amounting to an annual saving of up to £8,000 for a wide range of independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafés. But we are not just providing short-term relief for our retailers; we are also setting out a long-term vision for our town centres, with a £675 million future high streets fund to help councils transform their high streets by making the necessary improvements to infrastructure and transport and by redeveloping underused retail space into homes to help to secure their future.