Business rates reform overdue, says city council’s Labour leader

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A COUNCILLOR has backed calls for the government to create an emergency fund to help small businesses.

Portsmouth’s Labour leader Stephen Morgan believes the new business rates revaluation, which comes into effect on April 1, will hit small pubs and restaurants and has backed Labour’s five-point plan to help businesses survive the revaluation.

It includes setting up an emergency transitional relief fund for businesses facing ‘cliff edge’ increases in their rates, and revising the appeals process to ensure businesses get a swift and fair hearing.

Cllr Morgan said: ‘Fundamental reform of the business rates system is much overdue.

‘We need to ease the burden on our high streets and town centres in the age of online shopping; support the traditional fabric of our communities, including community pubs to protect them from closure; and create a fairer system of business taxation.

‘It cannot be right for small businesses to be facing massive hikes while international online retailers have their business rates cut.’