Just for clarity—I think that this was implicit in Ms Baker’s supplementary question—the Fraser of Allander Institute did not say that the scheme has had no effect; rather, it highlighted that data limitations have limited the institute in relation to evidencing that there is an effect.
When we speak to small businesses, they recognise the importance of the scheme. To quote the Federation of Small Businesses,
“the small business bonus has been a lifeline for many firms.”
] If members find that funny, that is up to them. I reiterate that this Government has committed to the small business bonus scheme. Indeed, if we include all non-domestic rates reliefs this year, the total reliefs are worth an estimated £802 million.
We have invited representatives from a range of business organisations and local authorities to join the short-life working group that we are establishing, and we hope to convene its first meeting shortly. The issue of data in relation to the small business bonus scheme will be a priority of particular concern for the group.