The result of a recent Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council:
“Tory ministers were so concerned about the impact of business rates on the high street that they were planning extra financial support before the election, The Telegraph has learned, but the plans were later abandoned.
The Communities Department is understood to have grown worried that retailers were getting “completely clobbered” under the current business rates formula and worked with the Treasury to better protect the sector.
Plans were developed throughout 2014 and a review published before the 2015 election, but a Tory victory and a reshuffle saw the changes never adopted, with more modest reforms adopted instead.
The revelation that recent senior Conservative politicians were ready to act to protect the high street will fuel calls for Theresa May’s government to help those worst affected by an upcoming rates change.
For the first time in seven years business rates are being updated in line with property prices this April, leaving some firms facing increases of up to 400 per cent.
Small business owners have warned they face being driven out of business by the change, but government figures say the majority of firms will see no increase in their rates.” …
“Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have smaller fleas, and so ad infinitum”
EDDC sets its housing targets in its Local Plan, paying consultants to come up with numbers they like, and the government agrees them (though note these are MINIMUM targets).
“Greater Exeter” is created (with no public consultation) and says: “Ah, but WE need even more houses for this bigger area to service the city, so you, East Devon will have to find more places to put them”.
The Local Enterprise Partnership says: “Ah, but we need even more houses for our (unsustainable)”economic growth” targets so Greater Exeter and East Devon – you will have to find even more space for even more houses.
The Government says: “It still isn’t enough – all of you will have to find MUCH more space or we won’t give you any money.
Developers say: “Stuff you all, we are laughing all the way to the bank as we dribble out new builds, get massive prices for them and create a market shortage. And if you meddle with us we will stop donating to Tory party funds.
And they all lived happily ever after:
– the district councillors drawing their allowances and officers drawing good salaries and hob-nobbing with developers keen to influence them;
– the Greater Exeter elite group of councillors and officers who are even more influential with the developers;
– the LEP who ARE the developers;
– the government whose coffers swell with donations from developers
– all except the hundreds of thousands of poor beggars who couldn’t afford to buy their own homes and who now can’t afford to rent them either.
“… Chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley, said: “The Heart of the South West LEP is working closely with our Local Authority-led Devolution partners to create a Productivity Plan that aligns with government strategy to leverage the maximum investment of resources and confidence in this area.” …
Owl’s translation: We are all working really hard using YOUR money to make ourselves richer and richer and you poorer and poorer!