Responding to reports today that the Government will announce this week that it will be paving the way for local authorities to raise extra business rates to pay for infrastructure projects David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The only way a Supplementary Business Rate will be acceptable to businesses is if they have a vote on any scheme that is proposed.  Clearly more investment is needed in our transport infrastructure and business is willing to play its role but this must only be for specified projects.  Local councils must not be allowed to raise money merely to fill their coffers. 

“What the Government must ensure however is that any proposals for a new supplementary business rate do not run parallel to other plans on the table.  The Department of Transport's Transport Innovation Fund for instance is a mechanism by which local councils can get funding to pay for transport improvement projects through implementing road pricing schemes.   

 “It is essential that government has a joined up approach to investing in transport.  What we cannot have is business being asked to pay a number of additional taxes to fund transport improvement.  Local authorities must be clear whether they are going for Supplementary Business Rate or a Transport Innovation Fund.”