Shropshire Council plumps for highest housing growth option because it needs the cash

Next Wednesday, the council cabinet is expected to agree a much higher rate of growth in housing and employment land across the county. The government says we need to build 1,270 new homes a year. Shropshire Council wants to build 1,440 dwellings every year for the next 20 years.

Nearly 60% of people and organisations that responded to a consultation earlier this year wanted a lower level of growth. But the council wants the business rates from higher employment growth, so it says more housing is needed.

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New leader says Shropshire Council is not poor and county needs an airport

Copthorne councillor Peter Nutting, elected as leader of Conservative group on Shropshire Council last night, spoke to BBC Radio Shropshire about his forthcoming role as leader of the council.

He talked about the council becoming a “doing council” and of investment in the business parks in market towns. He wants better quality jobs and sees opportunities arising from HS2 and building a Shropshire airport. In a reference to previous leaders, he said he was not panicked about money, declaring that “Shropshire is not a poor council.”

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Business rates: a measly and mean Budget that could send some Ludlow retailers to the wall

This was a measly and mean budget for small businesses. For towns like Ludlow, there is no cheer at all from the Budget statement today.

In recent days, there were growing hopes the Chancellor would do act to ease the rates burden on business, especially the retail sector. Philip Hammond made three announcements on business rates and none of them pass muster.

Today’s budget will lead to many local independent businesses going to the wall. I really fear we are set to lose several of the businesses that attract people to Ludlow’s town centre.

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Government must remove “squeeze in the middle” for retailers facing business rate hikes

Yesterday, the communities and local government minister, Sajid Javid, made a Commons statement on business rates. He defended the changes in rateable values being introduced on 1 April. These rises have led to protests across the country, including here in Ludlow. Our town has featured in the national media several times in recent weeks.

The government must grasp the opportunity to address the “squeeze in the middle”. This squeeeze threatens the future of independent shops and pubs, here in Ludlow and across the country.

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April business rate hike could permanently damage the retail economy of towns like Ludlow

A few years back, the government of the day spotted a banana skin ahead. A routine reassessment of rateable values due in 2015 would lead to some businesses paying a lot more in business rates. With London and the South East beginning to boom again after the banking crisis, that would mean a huge increase in business taxes in Tory heartlands. So, ministers kicked the revaluation into touch until after the 2015 general election. There was no point in having a row with business leaders just as electors queued at the polling booths. And, as the government pleaded at the time, the country was still struggling to get out of recession.

This was at best confused thinking. At the worst, it was cowardice. Whatever the motive, the business rates revaluation was delayed for a couple of years. It is now upon us. For Ludlow, it is becoming the biggest media story in town because the government is perilously close to permanently damaging the retail economy of towns like Ludlow.

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