Councillors lead the call for business rates change

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Lobbying by local councillors to stop people who have not paid their business rates getting permission to open licensed premises or renew a licence, could soon become law.

Under current rules, a licensing authority is not able to take into account whether a person looking to open a new business, is up to date with paying their rates.

As a result Forest Heath district councillors joined forces with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to lobby the Government for a change in the law. They won the backing of the Local Government Association which is seeking the changes as part of its submission to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne for inclusion in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday. Cllr Stephen Edwards, Forest Heath Cabinet Member for Resources, Governance and Performance said: “Many councils will have come across these cynical business men and women who pay all of their bills apart from their business rates because they know they will still get their licence.

“It is unfair on the rest of us who pay our rates, knowing that the money will be reinvested back into the area for the benefit of us all.”