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MP calls for business rates to be abolished to help save the high street

December 11, 2020 5:59 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron urged ministers to abolish business rates to save local businesses in the retail and hospitality sector this Christmas.

Speaking during a debate on the future of the high street, Tim also called for greater tax fairness between independent shops and online retail giants.

Tim said: "Business rates net £25 billion a year. The digital sales tax, according to the Government's best estimate, will raise £0.5 billion a year.

"What we need is the full-scale abolition of business rates, their replacement by taxes on revenue and sales, and measures to ensure that the online giants are no longer being subsidised by independent shops in our communities up and down this country.

"I was talking to a constituent of mine, a business person who owns a number of businesses. He told me that the rateable value of one of his premises, which he is having to close, was £250,000. The rent that he pays on that business is a fifth of that. This distorts the price of operating physically in our town and village centres.

"That is why business rates must be abolished, and this is the moment to do it."