Politicians pledge to change business rates system

As the run-up to the General Election continues, politicians from the major parties are pledging to look at changing business rates, as they appreciate that the system is causing problems for bricks and mortar businesses.

For example, speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference last week, Prime Minister David Cameron said that if the Conservatives stay in power, they will increase the proportion of business rates that can be retained by local councils from 50 per cent to 66 per cent in order to encourage them to get behind commercial development. Mr Cameron added that this would be a further big incentive to get councils on the side of business and “get Britain building”.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said that his party would cut business rates by “hundreds of pounds”, saying that this would make a big difference to organisations but said that if he came to power councils would be able to keep 100 per cent uplift on the new businesses they brought in as an incentive.

However, it is not just politicians that would like to see changes made; a large retail landlord has called for a fairer system to be brought in, saying that business rates represent the single biggest challenge for the retail industry.

A spokesman for the retail landlord pointed out that out that retailers represent 5 per cent of the UK’s economic value but 23 per cent of all business rate payments, which led to a petition to Government by retailers last year asking that the rates system be looked at

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