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 Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Conservative, The Cotswolds 4:46 pm, 2nd April 2019

The hon. Gentleman has been a friend of mine for many years, and my family and his have been friends for even longer, so I do know his area very well indeed, especially his family town of Tain. It is a relatively recent phenomenon that the Valuation Office Agency has started rating ATMs. There is a particular quirk in the system: if an ATM is situated inside a bank or a post office, it is not rated, but if it is situated on the wall of the bank or post office, it is rated.

The hon. Gentleman and others—particularly in Scotland, because of the distances that they have to travel—have had numerous debates on bank closures, which may result in the removal of the one ATM in town. I am sure that a factor in the banks’ decision in closing those ATMs must be that they are now rated, whereas hitherto they were not. Perhaps my right hon. Friend the Chancellor might look at that, particularly for all market towns. Up and down my constituency, all my market towns have lost ATMs in the last few years, and in some of those market towns only the post office still has an ATM facility. Now even the post office in some of those market towns is coming under threat. That is becoming a real problem for my constituents—particularly constituents with businesses who need to withdraw cash.