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Nadhim Zahawi corrects comments on business rates
OnMar 26, 2019
By Rachel Lawler
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi has clarified comments he made in the House of Commons about local authorities offering an exemption on business rates to childcare providers.
On 4 February 2019, Huw Merriman MP asked whether England could follow the example of Scotland and Wales, which both offer a 100% discount on business rates for childcare providers.
The minister responded: “To my knowledge, two local authorities have done the same thing in England and I urge other local authorities to look into what they can do to help childcare providers with business rates.”
Under 5 contacted the Department for Education in February to clarify which two local authorities Zahawi was referring to but was told that as these discounts are offered at the discretion of individual local authorities, the only information the department held was “anecdotal”.
Business rate relief
Zahawi previously made similar comments on 10 October 2018. He said: “In 2015, my predecessor and the local government minister asked officials to write to all councils to encourage them to use those powers to support access to local high-quality childcare provision. So far, I am aware of only two councils that have chosen to do that.”
This mirrored comments he made at the Nursery World Business Summit in November 2018 in response to a delegate question about business rates. He again said “two local authorities have delivered that exemption”.
The Hansard record has now been updated after the minister wrote a letter of correction stating that there was an "error" in the comments he originally made in response to Merriman's question.
Zahawi has now corrected his previous comment to say: “To my knowledge, two local authorities have done similar things in England and I urge other local authorities to look into what they can do to help childcare providers to cope with business rates.”
Under 5 has contacted the Department for Education for comment on whether the record for 10 October will also be updated.
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