Conservatives pledge business rates review

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The Conservative Party has pledged a business rates review which aims to “reduce the burden” on UK businesses, as part of its election campaign.

It said business rates are one of the “top concerns” of British businesses, and added that a Conservative majority Government will launch a “fundamental review” at its first budget, consulting widely.

A statement read: “We will reduce the overall burden of business rates as part of this review.”

It also promised that the next Conservative Government will increase the Employment Allowance to £4,000, which will provide a tax cut of up to £1,000 for more than half a million businesses. It added this will amount to almost a half a billion-pound tax cut for small businesses.

Commenting on the announcement, Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at real estate adviser Altus Group, said: “The Government undertook a comprehensive review of business rates at the Budget in March 2015 publishing its response a year later.

“Essentially we will be going over old ground with the tough questions having already been asked albeit that review was fiscally neutral.”

It comes after the Conservative party also proposed to reduce business rates for smaller businesses, in order to support “left-behind” towns, if they win the general election.

The plans would offer support to businesses and the community, to keep the high streets open for business, save pubs and post offices, reconnect towns and villages to rail networks and invest in cycling and walking.

Boris Johnson said that many towns and villages in Britain are overlooked and “left behind”. When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, “communities felt their voices had been heard for the first time in decades and their lives would improve.”

He said at the time: “We will invest in these communities and help people put the heart back into the places they call home. We need to get Brexit done so that we can unleash the potential of all our towns, cities and villages.”

However, in a response to the announcement, director of The British Retail Consortium (BRC), Tom Ironside, said: “While we welcome the extension of temporary support for small businesses, these measures need to go much further if they are to enable the successful reinvention of our high streets, particularly as the majority of the UK’s three million retail workers are employed in businesses that will not benefit from today’s announcement.”

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