Suffolk Chamber of Commerce meets Financial Secretary to the Treasury over concerns of local businesses

Members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce outside the Treasury just before they met Jane Ellison MP, financial secretary to the Treasury
Members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce outside the Treasury just before they met Jane Ellison MP, financial secretary to the Treasury
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Members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce have been lobbying Government over issues affecting their members especially that of business rates revaluation.

They attended a round table meeting last week with Jane Ellison, MP, the financial secretary fo the Treasury as well as other representatives from British chambers of commerce.

One of the Suffolk chamber board members, Stephen Britt, said: This was an opportunity for us to try to shape the Government’s thinking on issues of particular relevance to small and medium enterprises ahead of the Budget in March.

“I raised with her (Ms Ellison) the fact that some Suffolk firms are facing massive increases in their business rates due to the current revaluation. In particular, I highlighted a number of inconsistencies with the process and I’m pleased that the minister offered to enter into a dialogue and requested examples and case studies for her to examine.”

The meeting also looked at pressures on the cost of hiring staff, including the National Apprenticeship Levy, bridging the skills gap and the rise and implications of the ‘gig’ economy whereby people are in temporary jobs or paid for each piece of work done. This is particularly prevalent in jobs such as food delivery, taxi journeys and couriers.

There was also discussion on HMRC’s Moving to Digital and its effecticveness in encouraging more businesses to file their tax returns online.

Mr Britt added: “ The Minister seemed engaged by what I and others had to say about the impact of Government policies on business.

“It was useful to look the Minister in the eye and directly convey to her the concerns of many of our members on a number of key issues, especially with regards to the current business rates revaluation.”

The new rateable values by which business rates are set come into effect in April and due to soaring property prices in Londona and the South East there is likely to be disparities between areas. The Government is offering a tapering system of charges to mitigate sharp rises in business rates and is also looking at how local authorities can receive 100 per cent of their business rates.