Brexit answers Jan 17



Restaurant chains and rates rise and Brexit

Question No: 2017/0210

Andrew Dismore

In a letter to the Evening Standard, chief executives of London’s most popular restaurant chains have demanded that the Prime Minister ease the burdens caused by rising business rates, taxes and the weak pound. They say London’s restaurant chains are being squeezed as never before and need some respite, particularly from the huge hike in business rates.  Will you support them in their call for help?

Written response from the Mayor

I appreciate the challenges posed by business rates, taxes and the weak pound on restaurant chains as well as other businesses in London. As a result of the 2017 revaluation business rates bills in London will increase by around £1 billion or 11% – the only English region seeing an increase.


I, alongside other arms of London Government and London business, campaigned to get the Government to improve the transitional relief scheme offered to business ratepayers and was successful in achieving this: the cap on bill increases for large ratepayers went from 45% to 42% in 2017-18 with a bigger reduction on the cap in 2018-19 from 50% to 32%. These changes – albeit limited – will save London businesses around £75 million over the next two years.


My efforts have reduced the burden on London business that could have materialised; however, the Government’s transitional relief scheme which caps maximum increases in actual bills next year at 42% and 130% over the next 3 years for larger ratepayers is still very unfair and aggressive.


In order to ensure this is never repeated again we need full devolution of the administration of business rates to London including local control of revaluations and a separate London arm of the Valuation Office. Such devolved arrangements already operate successfully in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


I reconvened the independent London Finance Commission last year to assess the tax powers London needs to support economic growth across the capital and to call on Government to devolve the powers to London that are needed to bring an end to events like this huge increase on London ratepayer’s bills. The Commission will report later this month.




Scotland, London and Brexit

Question No: 2017/0211

Andrew Dismore

The Scottish Government has published a “Scotland’s Place in Europe” document, the fundamental ask of which is for Scotland to remain a full member of the European single market and the customs union.  Will you consider publishing a similar document for London?

Written response from the Mayor

I have been clear that in the aftermath of Brexit, it is crucial that London retains privileged access to the single market and that London businesses can still access the skilled workforce they need to grow.


I am engaged in monthly meetings with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, in which I am ensuring the Government fully understands the needs of London’s economy in the lead up to and eventual exit from the EU.


This is a positive and useful suggestion that I will discuss further with officers.




Your expert panel on best Brexit deal for capital

Question No: 2017/0212

Andrew Dismore

It is welcome that you have appointed a number of senior business and other figures to advise you on Brexit. Will you be publishing a record of their advice to you as negotiations progress?

Written response from the Mayor

I have convened the Brexit Advisory panel as a virtual, on call resource to provide insight into the economic sectors and areas of policy for which they are well positioned to give advice. The group’s private counsel will be treated the same as the representations I have received from businesses leaders since my election and will not be published.