I HAVE just been reading about the closure of the House of Fraser store in Darlington (Echo, June 8).

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen seems to be suggesting one of the reasons appears to be they are “crippled by the effect of high business rates”.

I assume this “business rate” goes to Darlington Borough Council, so is there anyone out there who can tell me just how much House of Fraser are paying?

If it is an excessive amount would it not have been better to withhold the £200,001 paid recently to the retiring chief executive officer and put it towards reducing business rates in the town? It might have saved 267 jobs and the CEO would have survived I’m sure. The above amount might have been a drop in the ocean but at least it would have been a gesture.

In a later article Councillor Chris McEwan says “business rates cannot be subsidised as we cannot afford to lose that type of money – we are talking about £50m”. Again can the council tax payers of Darlington have a breakdown of who pays what? I wandered through Queen Street arcade recently and couldn’t help noticing the amount of empty premises, ten in all. Down to business rates perhaps?

Mike Taylor, Darlington