22 February 2017
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party co-leader, has slammed the Government over their business rates policy. At Prime Minister's Questions Lucas asked the Prime Minister to help small businesses which are set to suffer from rate changes .
The Prime Minister hinted at a policy change to give 'relief' to those hardest hit - but her spokesperson said afterwards that no further money would be forthcoming .
Speaking after Prime Minister's Questions, Caroline Lucas MP said:
“Proposed business rate hikes are set to devastate small businesses across the UK, yet the Prime Minister couldn’t confirm today that she’ll offer them a helping hand. The Government’s policy on this issue is in utter chaos – with hints from Theresa May that she’d consider taking action only to be shut down moments later by her own spokesperson. For the sake of local economies up and down the country it’s time the Prime Minister steps in and gives small businesses the support they need.”
 Caroline Lucas' exchange with the Prime Minister:
CL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Government’s business rates hike could devastate the local economy in my Brighton constituency. Brighton Pier is facing a 17% increase, the World’s End pub a 123% increase, and Blanch House Hotel a 400% increase. Does the PM recognise that Brighton will be disproportionately affected, and will she urgently set up both a discretionary fund to support small and micro businesses and agree to a full review of the whole system?
PM: If we just stand out [?], business rates of course are based on the rental value of the properties, the rental values of properties do change over time, they go up and down, and it’s right that rates change to recognise that. That’s the principle of fairness that underpins the business rates system. We also though want to support businesses and recognise that for some, business rates will go up when these revaluations take place. That’s why we put significant funds in place for transitional relief, but I recognise that there has been particular concern that there will be some small businesses that are particularly affected by the result of this revaluation, and that’s why I’ve asked the Chancellor and the Communities Secretary to make sure there is appropriate relief in those hardest cases.