JEREMY Hunt was cheered on the streets of Canvey after promising to save our ailing high streets by slashing business rates for small shops.

The MP, battling Boris Johnson to be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister, arrived in a Bentley black cab, before setting out his vision should he win the leadership contest.


Speaking to the gathering of community leaders, traders and families in Elm Road yesterday, he said: “I came to Canvey because this is the home of small business in Essex.

“I am going to be announcing cuts in business rates which will mean 90 per cent of small businesses will not have to pay for business rates.

“I have been looking at the shops in Canvey High Street that are suffering due to the online shopping boost, and I want to help them survive.

“The plans will mean about 11,000 small businesses will not need to pay the rates.

“I want to change business to help create more jobs for people in south Essex.”

Flanked by security and various members of his entourage Mr Hunt, the underdog in the leadership race, revealed what he was looking to achieve should he be chosen by the Tory membership for the top job.

Speaking to the Echo, in the Bentley cab, he claimed the £6,500 savings per small business will help revitalise the area.

He said: “This will help people to stay working in the area, and will mean they don’t feel the need to work in central London.

“I also want to be putting more into the NHS, social care systems and schools for south Essex, if I am elected as Prime Minister.”

Mr Hunt said the campaign had been positive so far and the Tory leadership contest is causing a big debate about who should lead the country.

He said: “I have been getting some fantastic support from the whole of the UK.”

The Foreign Secretary and former health secretary made a short speech to the people gathered on the island, talking about what the country has to offer to the economy.

Speaking to the crowd on Canvey, he said: “This country has more potential than anywhere else in the world.

“We’ve got the best universities in Europe, tech start ups, entrepreneurs, grit and determination.

“We can get on and spread the wealth to our NHS and our education system.

“And we’ve got to get more young people voting Conservative.”

The speech, in the quiet Canvey road, was met with huge applause from visitors, traders and Conservative voters.

Mr Hunt also visited Chelmsford, where he spoke to medical students from Anglia Ruskin University.

He met the city’s Tory MP Vicky Ford.

The Foreign Secretary, who is going head-to-head with Boris Johnson to replace Theresa May, will officially unveil his rescue plan for business this week.

The plan will see his government reform the current retail discount rate by retaining the qualifying rateable value threshold at £51,000.

Nine out of ten shops are set to benefit – including newsagents and bakers.

The whole bill will be cancelled, covering 90 per cent of this type of business.

This is on top of plans to cut corporation tax to encourage more big businesses in the area as the country gears up for a post Brexit economy.