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Oral Answers to Questions
Exerpts for Sir Edward Davey
Tuesday 16 October 2018

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Kelly Tolhurst Portrait Kelly Tolhurst - Parliament Live - Hansard

I must remind the hon. Gentleman that the British Business Bank has access to the £20 billion investment in the industrial strategy. Through our start-up loan scheme, we have made 57,000 loans, delivering £436 million in finance and creating more than 56,000 jobs. Access to finance has improved a great deal since I became an MP. The hon. Gentleman served on the Committee on which we made invoice financing another option for many small businesses.

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD) - Hansard

8. What recent assessment he has made of the effect of business rates on the viability of small businesses. [907078]

Greg Clark Portrait The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Greg Clark) - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 12:08 p.m.

The small business sector is thriving. We have 5.7 million small and medium-sized enterprises, and we are ranked in the top 10 in the world for ease of doing business. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the Government have taken significant action on business rates in each of the last three Budgets, including £9 billion of support announced in 2016, making sure that nearly two thirds of a million small businesses pay no rates at all.

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 12:08 p.m.

Small retailers across Kingston and Surbiton have been hit by a combination of high rises in business rates and unfair competition from online retailers, who too often escape taxation. Will the Secretary of State talk to the Chancellor before the Budget, and to European colleagues before Brexit, to agree a new tax for internet retail, using the proceeds to slash business rates and save our high streets before it is too late?

Greg Clark Portrait Greg Clark - Parliament Live - Hansard

When the right hon. Gentleman was a Minister in the Business Department, he took part in a decision to defer revaluation, for reasons that he understands. I accept the point—it has been made strongly by the Retail Sector Council—that reflecting the contribution that high street businesses make to their communities is a significant need. As business rates are reviewed, that is one of the council’s recommendations that we will take forward.

Break in Debate

Kelly Tolhurst Portrait Kelly Tolhurst - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

As I have already outlined, we are committed to delivering a postal network that services the needs of our communities. If the hon. Gentleman has concerns relating to particular post offices, will he please contact me?

Mr Speaker Hansard

Oh, very well, Sir Edward—blurt it out, man!

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Oct 2018, 12:34 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. May I bring to the Secretary of State’s attention the power that he has to mutualise Post Office Ltd to allow sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses, and their customers, to have a share in their own post office? Will he look at this, because it would bring greater sustainability to the post office network?

Kelly Tolhurst Portrait Kelly Tolhurst - Parliament Live - Hansard

That is something I am more than happy to look at in my new role, but it is something that you could have done yourself—[Interruption.] Sorry, Mr Speaker! It is something that the right hon. Gentleman could have done when he was a post office Minister.