As the government considers plans to raise an extra £1billion next year through a revaluation of business rates, there has been much concern on the backbench that the move would see high street shops priced out of existence. Mark Field — vice-chairman of the Conservative party — has called on Philip Hammond to back down from the ‘looming nightmare’ of higher business rates in his Budget or risk a revolt among Tory voters.
But surely the Chancellor can count on his Cabinet colleagues to back him up at this testing time? Perhaps not. Mr S couldn’t help but notice that Damian Green — the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions — has liked a tweet critical of the government policy on business rates. Green ‘liked’ a Times Red Box editorial by the IPPR’s Alfie Stirling, which argues that the business rates reform could negatively impact local public services.
So, a simple slip of the mouse — or evidence of an impending u-turn?