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Government launches enquiry into business rates impact


Government launches enquiry into business rates impact

By Huw Hughes

4 Feb 2019

The Treasury Committee has launched a fresh inquiry into business rates to find out how Government policy impacts UK companies.

The parliamentary committee will be examining the way business rates policy have changed and whether the current service is working. Alternative policies, such as the proposed digital service taxes and alternatives to property-based taxes will also be looked at.

Commenting on the launch of the enquiry in a statement, chair of the Treasury Committee, Nicky Morgan, said: “Many high street businesses are struggling to remain competitive. It has been estimated that 10,000 shops will close this year. Unless action is taken, closures could continue and job losses may soar.”

Last year, data from the Local Data Company (LDC) studying 500 UK high streets revealed that an average of 14 stores a day were being shut across the country, with 2,692 stores shut in the first six months of 2018.

Morgan continued: “Business Rates can represent a substantial financial burden on the high street. The Treasury Committee is therefore launching an inquiry today into the effectiveness and impact of these rates on business.

“We’ll examine how the current system is working and consider whether an alternative system, for example a land-value based tax, may help level the playing field between retailers.

“At the end of the inquiry, we’ll make a series of recommendations to Government on the fairness and effectiveness of the current system, and how it could be improved.”