Call to cut business rates to help firms

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A COUNCILLOR has criticised the way business rates are calculated.

It comes as a new report into high streets says business rates must be cut to end the risk of 20,000 stores closing across the country in the next 12 months.

Councillor Graham Burgess, the deputy leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘The business rates in High Street are different to the ones in Stoke Road, and in Lee-on-the-Solent.

‘It’s as though somebody just plucks figures out of the air.

‘If it works out we get the business rates then we can actually try and do things with them.’

The new review is by former Iceland and Wickes chief executive Bill Grimsey.

Mr Grimsey’s review makes 31 recommendations to government in an ‘alternative’ review to that by retail guru Mary Portas.

In it he calls for an immediate reintroduction of the 2015 business rates revaluation.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said they had taken a range of measures to help the high street, including cutting rates for small businesses, and looser planning restrictions.