8 th Mar 2017

Chamber Welcomes Chancellor’s Pledge On Business Rates

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Cumbrian businesses should benefit from measures announced in the Budget to offset increases in business rates.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce called for Chancellor Philip Hammond to act after it unearthed instances of businesses facing increases of up to 300 per cent in their rates bills as a result of a revaluation that comes into force next month.

Mr Hammond obliged with measures to help businesses no longer eligible for rates relief, a £1,000 discount for pubs, and a hardship fund to help those facing large increases.

Chamber chief executive Rob Johnston said: "We are pleased he has acted but it’s only a sticking plaster.

"What we really need is fundamental reform of the system. The Chancellor has pledged to do this before the next revaluation and we hope that he sticks to his word.”

Rob also welcomed the creation of T-levels, which aim to simplify vocational learning and put it on an equivalent footing to A-levels with more hours of training for 16-to-19-year-old technical students and high quality work placements.

He said: "We applaud all of this. The worry is that he’s allocated only £500m a year to pay for it all and that may not be enough. In Cumbria, it equates to £5m a year extra.”

Rob also has concerns about tax changes, which will see self-employed people pay more income tax from next year and a reduction in tax breaks for director shareholders.

He added: "There are a lot of self-employed people in Cumbria who will be caught by this.

"Many aren’t self-employed by choice, it’s the only option for them, and they aren’t necessarily earning a lot of money. They are risk takers and it seems harsh to penalise them.”


Julian Whittle, Business Engagement Manager at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, chats to the Chamber CEO, Rob Johnston about the March 2017 budget announcements.

Find out more about the new Cumbria Chamber of Commerce podcast feed here

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