Letter: Business rates

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The Independent Online
Simon Sperryn is wrong to assume his business rates were high in 1989 because his local authority levied them (letter, 11 February).

The amount a business pays in rates depends on the its location; if the rateable value of the land the business occupies is high, its rates will be high. Returning the business rate to council control would not mean that the burden is shifted from residents to businesses, or vice versa; levels of domestic and non-domestic rates would be linked to ensure that one does not subsidise the other.

At present, businesses have no input into the level of rates they pay - returning the business rate would improve democracy. For local government to modernise, it must be able to represent all the community. Financial autonomy is a vital part of that modernisation.

Sir JEREMY BEECHAM

Chair

Local Government Association

London SW1

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