Burnham-On-Sea’s MP James Heappey has this week called on the Prime Minister to help Somerset in its bid to retain all business rates collected in the county from April 2019.

Speaking during this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, MP James Heappey encouraged Theresa May to look favourably on Somerset’s bid to retain all business rates collected in the county from April 2019 – a year earlier than planned – to help the County Council with its budget cutbacks.

The Prime Minister gave a promising response, encouraging Ministers at the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government to meet with Somerset’s MPs to discuss the issue of business rates further.

Burnham’s Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Tessa Munt spoke out last week about the matter, criticising Somerset’s Conservative MPs.

In his question to the Prime Minister, Mr Heappey asked: “In Somerset, we have been working for years to pay down the huge debts left by the Lib Dems when they last ran County Hall, which means that funding for many essential services is now being withdrawn. Will the Prime Minister meet me and Somerset colleagues to discuss this challenge and will she look favourably on our bid to fully retain business rates from April 2019?”

The Prime Minister responded: “I understand that the issue of business rates and the bids to which my Honourable Friend has referred, from Somerset and others, are currently being assessed. A decision will be announced alongside the local government finance settlement later this year.”

“I can tell my Honourable Friend that I have already received representations from a Somerset Member of Parliament on the issue, but I am sure that Ministers in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will be willing to meet him and others to discuss it further. I am sure that they will be happy to sit down and discuss the details.”