MP comes under fire at business breakfast

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A healthy dollop of business concerns were served up to Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning at a breakfast meeting in Apsley.

Mr Penning, a minister in Northern Ireland, invited feeback from firms at West Herts Business Breakfast at Shendish Manor today (Friday).

Caroline Jones, who owns and runs recruitment consultant Cobham Consulting, in High Street, Berkhamsted, said business rates were a huge concern, having risen by a massive 40 per cent last year.

“I hope we’re not going to get that again,” she said.

Mr Penning said business rates were only a part of the equation, the other being rents charged by landlords. “I would argue that you could appeal against increases in rates and rents,” he added.

Tim Hutchings, chief executive of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said from April, local authorities will be able to take more control of rates.

Other issues raised included National Insurance Contributions for small businesses, delayed payments of Corporation Tax and the voluntary Living Wage.