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Retail Trade: West Midlands

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 51029, tabled on 31 October 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has for invigorating high street trading in the West Midlands in the next 12 months.

Answered on

3 November 2016

We are committed to ensuring that high streets throughout the country remain at the heart of their community and we have taken significant actions to help high streets adapt and thrive through a range of targeted tax breaks, sensible planning changes and measures to ensure fairer parking for motorists.

At Budget 2016 we announced the biggest ever cut in business rates – worth £6.7 billion across the next five years. The Government is permanently doubling the level of Small Business Rate Relief and increasing the thresholds to benefit a greater number of property occupiers. Eligible properties with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief. This means that 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all, including local high street shops. Furthermore, the revaluation of Business Rates will ensure business rate bills more closely reflect the property market and that all businesses are getting a fair deal. The revaluation will reduce bills in the West Midlands by 7% before inflation and transitional relief. This will reduce bills by almost £170m per year. The biggest winners are in offices which will see bills falls by 16% and retail which will see bills fall by 11%.

We have also given over £18 million to town teams since 2010, including Redditch, funding successful initiatives such “Love Your Local Market” and the “Great British High Street Competition”. The finalists for the 2016 Awards include Derby, Hinckley, Market Harborough, Bridgnorth, and Leominster. The winners will be announced in December.