Business Rates

Part of Delegated Legislation – in the House of Commons at 4:46 pm on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney 4:46 pm, 2nd April 2019

My hon. Friend has been very generous in giving way. I entirely commend the Government for the package of business rates relief that has been given, although I recognise, as he does, the pressures that high streets are under with the business rates system. I also would be interested in a thorough reform of that system. Does he agree that, in the meantime, there are many things that local authorities can be doing to drive footfall and to help the high street? I am thinking particularly of West Oxfordshire District Council —his neighbouring authority, of course. The two adjoining local authorities work closely together. They have a flagship policy of free car parking, which has done a great deal to drive footfall and to help the high streets, particularly of Witney and Chipping Norton, where we have a plethora of great independent shops. In many ways, those high streets are thriving. Does my hon. Friend agree that local authorities such as West Oxfordshire should be commended for that, and that we could see that practice spread throughout the country, which would help the high street?