THIS week, Wycombe MP Steve Baker writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

House of Commons Select Committees examine the work of government departments.

Committees decide on a line of inquiry and then gather written and oral evidence. Findings are reported to the Commons and the Government usually has 60 days to reply to the committee’s recommendations.

I sit on the Treasury Select Committee which is responsible for examining the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, and associated bodies such as the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Treasury Committee has launched an inquiry into Business Rates. It will scrutinise how the current system is operating and the associated impact on business. On Monday, businesses converged on Birmingham to meet the Treasury Committee as part of its inquiry in this area.

There is no doubt business rates are a considerable burden on commercial enterprises in Wycombe and across the country.

Small businesses are the backbone of local economies and I welcome the measures taken to reduce the burden of business rates for small and medium enterprises.

In 2016 the Government set out cuts in business rates which will be worth almost £9bn by the end of this Parliament. An additional £435m was also made available in 2017 to support businesses affected by the most recent rate revaluation.

In the last Budget the Chancellor announced retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000 will have their rate bills cut by one third for two years from April 2019.

It is hoped this measure will help to revitalise high street shopping.

It’s clear from our inquiry so far that there is huge scope for reform or replacement of the business rates system.

From imposing large fixed costs to disincentivising investment, excess complexity to poor implementation, the current system is wrong in both principle and practice.