Milton Keynes Greens call for greater financial support for independent businesses

6 May 2021

Axel SegebrechtAxel Segebrecht: “Greens want independent businesses to be at the heart of a Green recovery”

The Green Party has called on the government to provide more financial support for independent businesses by reversing its decision to stop Covid-related business rate appeals, extend the business rate holiday and increase the amount of support to small businesses who have had to close during lockdown and expand the criteria for those eligible.

The call comes after it emerged last month that the government would legislate against the ability to appeal [1], which has granted small, independent businesses a lifeline amidst financial difficulties with lockdown restrictions not set to fully lift until the summer. Last December the Greens laid out their five point plan for small businesses to get back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic (below).

Axel Segebrecht, Green Party candidate for Bletchley East said,

"Small businesses are the life-blood of our economy and are hardest hit by the COVID19 pandemic. Bletchley and Fenny Stratford have lots of small businesses and its important that we help them through these difficult times. The government should allow appeals to continue and offer more financial support which is urgently needed to save local businesses."

"As a micro business owner and entrepreneur myself, I can relate and empathise with anyone who struggled through three lockdowns and BREXIT recently. Our five point plan includes business rate holidays, larger grants and VAT cuts, something the government continually fails to provide."

"The £22.5m Bletchley Town Deal must be invested for the benefit of local residents and support a Green recovery. The Green Party wants independent businesses to be at the heart of a Green recovery, which puts people and the environment first. We would facilitate this by lending at affordable rates and establishing a network of regional mutual banks to provide more funding for local economic initiatives."

Five point plan for small businesses

As small companies across the country struggle to keep afloat due to the pandemic [2], the Greens have called for a five point plan to help them keep going:

  1. Extend the business rate holiday into 2021/22 for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with the UK government providing compensation to local authorities for loss of income. As business rates are devolved in Wales, we also call on the Welsh Government to do the same.
  2. Increase the amount of support to small businesses who have had to close during lockdown and expand the criteria for those eligible. The current payments offer a derisory £1,300 a month for those with a rateable value of £15,000, which for a lot of small businesses would not even cover rent.
  3. Widen the amount of support to small businesses who have stayed open, such as nurseries, but are struggling due to the additional costs of Covid, through an additional discretionary grant for councils to administer.
  4. Grant 15% of government contracts to small and micro businesses and revise the government contract application process to remove the current barriers for entry to small business
  5. Extend the current tourism VAT cut through 2021 and expand by applying to food and drink served in pubs, bars and restaurants, on hotel bookings and on theatre, music concert and museum and gallery tickets. This should form part of a process to review our VAT system outside the EU so that it differentially supports smaller shops compared to larger and online shops.






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