Last Monday, I sat on a panel for a Business Question Time session organised by Sutton Council and Sutton Business Forum. The other panellists were local MPs Paul Burstow and Tom Brake, council leader Sean Brennan and Roger Mills, MD of Newsquest, the publishers of the Sutton Guardian.
Although it wasn't the bearpit of television's Question Time, there were clear differences in our approach to Sutton High Street. Tom Brake advocated taxing the pubs on the High Street. Whereas I believe that it is a good idea for the businesses to take on more responsibility in keeping their neighbourhood safe and tidy, simply taxing them smacks of the politics of envy. He explained weakly that the large pub chains make a massive profit, they could afford it. This fails to take into account that such a move only perpetuates these faceless corporations making our town centres identikit High Streets. How would a single landlord survive such a move? Back to the drawing board for that policy, Tom.