EVEN THOUGH last week’s House of Commons debate on business rates was sparsely attended, this issue is fundamental to the future prosperity and vitality of town centres, high streets and local communities.
Yet, while the Treasury wants every last penny from businesses, this approach could, in fact, be a false economy if it leads to the closure of more independent shops, businesses and local amenities like pubs.
An issue highlighted by Prince Charles, Camra – the Campaign for Real Ale – now says the current system of rates is ‘broken’ and that Ministers need to do more to support those community-run pubs which not only serve food and drink, but provide a base for voluntary groups and those organisations that have been left without premises of their own. The message needs to be heeded. If not, the country will pay an even greater price for the policy short-sightedness of those Ministers who can’t – or won’t – see the bigger picture.