BUSINESS rates have come in for stick in recent times, particularly the impact they have on small companies.

While plans to allow the district to keep a much bigger portion of those rates will not ease the burden, they will ensure that the money is spent on things that benefit more people who live here.

It is important that rates are seen as fair, and many business owners will feel much happier paying up if they know the cash is, for example, helping first-time buyers or contributing to infrastructure development.

We now need to hope that the Government listens and gives the district council the go-ahead to participate in the scheme.

Helping young people get onto the housing ladder is a key goal for the council, and so having extra cash to do this would prove a major boost.

The principle of keeping of keeping more money in the district is also important.

It is unfair that so much cash that is generated locally by businesses based at the heart of their communities is spirited away to Whitehall to be redistributed by unelected mandarins.

We should all be much more comfortable with our local representatives deciding how the money is spent.

If the application to take part in the pilot scheme is successful, the next focus should be on making business rates fairer for all.