Last minute u-turn on business rates rise
According to news just in from the BBC, Chancellor Alistair has made a last-minute u-turn on the business rates rise.
On the eve of the planned rise of business rates to 5%, Alistair Darling has said that the increase will be just 2%. The reminaing 3% of the rate rise will now be carried over the next two years.
The Chancellor of the Exchequor says the move is to help businesses in the current economic downturn.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Darling said:
"I believe this will provide real and genuine help for businesses in this country"
"I am very conscious of the fact that businesses in this country were faced with an increase to business rates of 5% simply because the increase in business rates is linked to the rate of RPI inflation last autumn, last September,
"But RPI inflation has now fallen to 0% in the last month and it is expected that it will fall further than that."
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chairman, John Wright, applauded the move, saying:
"This is good news for small businesses, as far as it goes. This shows that FSB pressure has finally paid off."
The FSB still believes that the government has "more room for manoeuvre" on business rates, and they have called upon Mr Darling to bring in automatic small business rate relief for elegible small firms.