“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.” …