Worcester MP, Robin Walker has welcomed a number of business-friendly measures set out yesterday in the Budget by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak including the effective abolition of Business Rates for the majority of small and medium sized businesses this year.

As well as the immediate business rates relief, Robin is pleased that the government is launching a fundamental review of business rates to report in the autumn. This is good news for independent shops, restaurants and venues in Worcester.

Robin has long advocated for supporting small businesses and shops as part of Worcester’s thriving retail community and has been pressing for reform of this nature over many years. As a backbencher, Robin was a member of the Business Select Committee and called for a major inquiry into the future of high streets and the retail industry; this subsequently recommended root and branch reform of the business rates system.

As well as campaigning tirelessly for the reform of business rates to help the high street and ease the burden on small retailers and shops, Robin has campaigned to keep parking charges low in Worcester and to support the city centre with a town centre first approach to planning.

Independent businesses in Worcester are the heartbeat of the high street and are integral to ensuring a strong local economy, opportunities for our youth, and helping to keep down unemployment. To recognise local business, last November, Robin launched his Independent Business Awards celebrating Worcester’s small shops and independent businesses. The changes announced in the budget will mean that the business rates retail discount will rise from 50% to 100% for 2020/21 and the red book confirms that councils will be fully compensated for the cost of this change.

Speaking after the budget, Robin said:

“At a time of unprecedented change and facing some real global challenges it is absolutely right that the government should step in to help the high street. Shops, restaurants, bars and venues are key to the strength of our city centres and encourage people to visit to spend their money in thriving centres such as Worcester’s High Street. For too long they have borne an unfair burden of business rates.”

“From the moment I was elected to the Business Select Committee, I campaigned to get an inquiry into business rates and the future of the High Street. That inquiry took place and recommended root and branch reform, something that the government is now delivering.”

“I welcome both the decision to take 50% of High Street business including the vast majority of independents out of business rates this year, and the commitment to a fundamental review of the system as we go forward.”

“I know that business in Worcester will welcome these changes and I hope that it will help ensure that we have a thriving city centre in years to come.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information on business and the Government, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy

For Robin’s previous releases on business, please see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/?s=business

For more information on Robin’s Small Business Awards, please see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/2019/11/rock-follies-vintage-win-independent-business-awards-2019/