The Chancellor last night performed a last minute U-Turn on Government plans to hike up business rates by an inflation busting 5%. Business rates will now only go up 2% with the remainder of the increase deferred until after the general election.
I welcome the move and I know it will be a huge relief to struggling businesses in Southampton.
Businesses, local councils and the Conservative party too have been pressing the Government to rethink for a long time. So we all welcome the change of heart.
However it is frankly amazing the decision was made the night before the new rate hike was due to take affect.
It is a sign of a totally disjointed Government that is in absolute chaos. All the bills have gone out from the local authority and the Government is now rushing through regulations which they hope to have in place in July. This was a last minute panic from a Government that has finally bowed to common sense not part of a well thought out strategy.
Administratively it will cause local authorities like Southampton huge problems but we will get through all that as the important thing here is that are supporting local businesses who we know are struggling.
There is a remarkable similarity between this and the recent U-Turn on Council rents.
Exactly the same thing happened in March. The tenants in Southampton were facing an inflation busting increase in their rents from Government. All the bills had gone out and then the Government announced extra money to reduce the increase. We were delighted as tenants and the Conservatives had been pressing for this for a long time but once again it was at the eleventh hour. Every day now it looks more and more like this Government is in melt down. The sooner we can have an election the better!