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Clause 1

Part of Business Rate Supplements Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 27th January 2009.

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Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 10:45 am, 27th January 2009

With respect, the right hon. Gentleman’s logic is flawed. In the case of Crossrail and London, where there is a broad consensus, it is perfectly reasonable to go down a route that was established before the Bill was introduced: there was commitment and sign-up to a BRS part-funding the package for Crossrail. However, the Government then coupled the Crossrail project with rolling out the broader Lyons proposals, which was not necessary.

Why do I say that we are protecting part of the country from a burden? I say it simply because, without a ballot in all cases, there is the prospect of a BRS being imposed on businesses in areas where there is no demand. In London, the consensus had arrived before the Bill appeared. What the Government are doing is using inverse logic—saying that because there is agreement in London without a ballot, we do not need a ballot anywhere else. That is the false logic that is being deployed in the debate, not any argument put by the Opposition.