MP hails Government move to help drainage boards and local farmers

Matt Warman MP has welcomed Government action on Business Rates, after a court ruling meant previously exempt agricultural premises and land were put at risk of high bills.

In yesterday’s debate on the Non-Domestic Rating (Nursery Grounds) Bill, which will legislate to ensure that buildings which are, or form part of, a nursery ground are exempt from Business Rates, Matt highlighted the impact that a high, unexpected rates bill would have on agricultural businesses in his constituency, and also on drainage boards due to their drainage levy.

Concerns had been raised with Matt by the Black Sluice drainage board and by local brassica growers Fountains, which both faced large financial implications as a result of a Court of Appeal decision which found Business Rates exemptions to be an incorrect application of the law.

Matt said in the debate,

“I hope that Members will bear in mind that the Bill represents a useful endeavour to fix a problem that would have had a real impact not only on the local economy and jobs in my constituency, but on the availability of cabbages throughout the country, about which I know the House cares deeply.”

After the debate, Matt added,

“I am delighted that my colleagues in Government have listened to feedback from businesses across the country, who were rightly concerned that they could be billed large sums for something from which they should be exempt, and acted swiftly to clarify the law on this matter to safeguard them from these costs.

“Agriculture is a key sector in Boston and Skegness and we want to support it in every possible way so that it can continue to provide both fresh produce and local jobs, as well as ensure that the drainage boards have the money they need to protect the area from flooding.”

Matt’s speech can be seen by clicking here.

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