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Labour will lower business rates: Catherine West

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Catherine West toured local businesses in the area, including Delight Kebab opposite Wood Green station

Hornsey & Wood Green candidate says higher corporation taxes will help reduce the costs of business for high street firms

A Labour government would help firms on Wood Green High Road by taxing big corporations and lowering business rates for smaller firms, local parliamentary candidate Catherine West has said.

Ms West, who is seeking re-election as the Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, said there was a need for an even playing field because internet giants like Google and eBay were not paying the rates that high street businesses did.

“I think that’s something I would like to see addressed and I know a Labour government will tougher on the offshoring of profits because that’s what the likes of eBay do,” she told Haber while she canvassed Turkish businesses in the Wood Green area on Monday.

“That means as a result of the corporation tax that bigger businesses will pay, we will have a much smaller business rate.”

She also said a Labour government would introduce rules that encouraged bigger businesses to pay their suppliers quicker.

“So if you’re selling things to Tesco or Sainsbury’s or one of the big providers and they’re not paying you on time, as a small business, you’re not being able to compete on an even playing field with bigger rivals for whom immediate paying might not matter.”

Honour Ankara Agreement

In a wide-ranging interview with Haber, Ms West also said she believed Turkish citizens in the UK under the terms of the Ankara Agreement should be offered the opportunity to apply for settlement and citizenship.

A recent court ruling has sparked concern in the community that the popular business visa may no longer carry the incentive of eventual UK citizenship.

“I believe Labour should honour that in the same way that EU nationals will be granted the right to remain, based on the fact that over 80 percent of the population believes that the right thing to do,” she said.

“So we know that a lot of businesses here have really benefitted from immigration because there have been certain skills that have been missing. That [Ankara] agreement was about people to reside in the UK and provide for skills gaps, so we’ve got to make sure that economy first, questions of changes to immigration second.”

Other Labour candidates, including Joan Ryan in Enfield North, have urged the Home Office to provide Turkish speakers with clarity over possible rule changes to the Ankara Agreement.

May prioritising Turkish trade

Catherine West also criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for prioritising trade with Turkey over expressing public concerns on its human rights record.

She said: “I believe Mrs May’s judgement was very poor when she decided to go see Mr Trump on a Friday and Mr Erdogan on a Saturday.

“In one weekend she laid out the values of the Tory party: it’s all about trade and not about anything else. Whereas Labour has the view that foreign policy should be about trade and national security but it should also be about human rights.”