Posted: Sat 29th Oct 2022
Kevin Hollinrake, who co-founded Hunters Estate Agents, has been appointed as the minister with responsibility for small businesses by new prime minister Rishi Sunak.
The MP for Thirsk and Malton replaces Dean Russell, who was appointed minister for enterprise and markets by former prime minister Liz Truss. The title was changed from the previous minister for small business role. Hollinrake’s exact title has not yet been confirmed but he announced his appointment in a tweet:
Delighted to serve the PM, govt & His Majesty in a role whose principal responsibility is to look after interests of small business & enterprise, something I'm truly passionate about.SMEs are the biggest drivers of economic opportunity & integral in driving down consumer prices.— Kevin Hollinrake MP (@kevinhollinrake) October 28, 2022
UPDATE 18/11/22: Kevin Hollinrake’s title has been confirmed as minister for enterprise, markets and small business.
Hollinrake started Hunters Estate Agents in 1992 with his co-founder John Waterhouse. According to his website, it now has more than 200 branches, turnover in excess of £40m and around 1,000 employees.
"It was a tough time to start. Two months after opening our doors, we were hit by Black Wednesday when in one day interest rates went from 10% to 15%.
“But we worked very hard and true to our name, hunted down every deal and we prayed that the market would improve. Eventually it did and we never looked back."
Abolition of business rates
The MP regularly comments on small business issues. In 2021, he called for the scrapping of business rates and replacing them with a 3% increase in VAT. He said:
"This would create a much needed level playing field between online and high street retailers and could help save hundreds of thousands of businesses and jobs impacted by the slump in sales because of the health crisis.
"Business rates were designed for a bygone era when business went hand in hand with high street premises but the way we shop is now changing for ever."
Hollinrake also said the VAT threshold should be reduced from £85,000 to £20,000 "because the current level disincentives growth and incentivises tax evasion".
Hollinrake's appointment follows Grant Shapps becoming the new business secretary.