On 1st March 2017, the Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question to Lord Kennedy of Southwark’s oral question on business rates. Lord Kennedy asked what action the government proposed to take in light of concerns expressed about the increases in business rates.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, will the Minister inform the House whether Her Majesty’s Government would look at the feasibility of setting the threshold of business rate relief at a local level, thereby protecting small independent businesses, many of which are now at risk, especially in high-value areas?
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate makes an important point. In a sense, of course, localism is already fed in because the valuation is done locally and should reflect local conditions. As I have indicated, small businesses, with up to £51,000 in rateable value, get the small-business rate; and many small businesses—600,000 in the current rollout from April this year—will be exempt. But the local factor is taken account of by the fact that there is a local valuation that reflects local rental values.