Your front page (‘Council cuts business rates support scheme’, Times Series, April 9) highlights the plight of small businesses in Barnet, especially as a consequence of the refusal of Conservative Barnet Borough Council to continue business rate relief for them.

The Conservatives claim to be the party of business, but if this is so, it is only big business they are really engaging with: small businesses they cut adrift.

The news that the rate relief is to be cut is yet another example of this: remember their refusal to help all those small businesses and charities being evicted from Premier House in Edgware as a result of the Conservatives’ relaxation of planning laws? Those businesses were left to fend for themselves with no help from the council at all.

If Labour and I win the election next month, the Labour government’s first budget after May 7 will cut business rates for 1.5 million small businesses, and freeze them the following year – this will be worth an average of £400 to each business.

Labour will also take action to tackle late payment, reduce unnecessary regulation, and establish a British Investment Bank to boost lending to small businesses.

Small businesses are a vital part of our local community, and I’m with them every step of the way – unlike the Conservatives.

Andrew Dismore

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hendon