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Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, has called for the introduction of a levy on large retailers, which would help smaller retailers on the high street who are struggling. Northern Ireland will see the scheme being introduced in April 2012, charging large retailers a levy which will be used to fund a scheme which provides rate relief.

MacShane believes that such a scheme here would benefit all Yorkshire towns and cities. According to a spokesman for the Department for Business in an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Mary Portas the retail expert did suggest the rate relief scheme but thought it may not be successful in the present climate. Mary Portas had been looking at ways in which local authorities, businesses and government could support ailing businesses on the high street. MacShane said:

“The centres of smaller Yorkshire towns have been destroyed by out-of-town shopping developments, which do not accept their responsibility for being in partnership with smaller town centre shops, and I think measures to support town centres are long overdue.”

According to the spokesman for the Department for Business, a Small Business rate Relief scheme is already in operation, for small businesses that occupy a property below the rateable value. It is thought that a number of small businesses are eligible for the relief. Conservative MP for Dewsbury, Simon Reevell believes the move may cause large retailers to move away from towns as overheads continue to rise, which would have a devastating affect on the local economy.

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