Tag Archives: business rates

The party proposes to abolish business rates: “Taxing Land, Not Investment”

The party has just published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system.

Ground-breaking research was led by Andrew Dixon, founder of the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs Network (LDBEN), in response to mounting concerns about the negative impact of business rates on struggling high street businesses and the wider economy.

The report – “Taxing Land, Not Investment” – calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL). The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.

Andrew Dixon said,

By only taxing land and not the productive capital above it, this reform would remove a major disincentive to investment, boosting productivity and contributing to a necessary revival in UK industry. While separate action is needed to ensure online retailers pay their fair share of corporation tax, our proposals would offer a lifeline to struggling high streets.

I am delighted to support this initiative which I believe would boost business and enterprise across the UK, and I am grateful to members of the Liberal Democrats Business & Entrepreneurs Network for their valuable contributions to this important research.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Business rates should be abolished and replaced by a Commercial Landowner Levy based on the value of commercial land only
  • The levy should be paid by owners rather than tenants
  • Non-residential stamp duty should be scrapped to improve the efficiency of the commercial property market
  • Commercial land should be taxed regardless of whether the buildings above it are occupied; the tax should also apply to unused and derelict commercial land

The report also finds that:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Live and campaign in an area with a lot of second homes?

East Suffolk Liberal Democrats are campaigning against a loophole that allows second home owners to avoid paying rates by saying they are businesses. A second home, that is available for holiday lets for 140 days a year (they don’t have to actually let it, except in Wales!), can claim to be a business for rates, and all properties of less than £12,000 valuation receive 100% small business rate relief – so they pay nothing. (NB this is not the same as Furnished Holiday Lets.)

In Southwold, more than half the houses are second homes and local people are priced out of …

Posted in Campaign Corner and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Time to speak out against business rates

Margaret Thatcher nationalised the business rates because she felt local councils could not be trusted to work sensibly with local businesses. At around the same time she introduced the community charge in place of domestic rates, which morphed into the less regressive – but still considerably regressive – council tax.

Liberal Democrats have agonised over the latter and our policy is still to introduce a Local Income Tax, instantly handing the tabloids an easy stick with which to beat us – the Lib Dems want a chancellor in every town hall and plan to increase our taxes. The policy is right …

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Opinion: Transport – time for a home-working revolution?

The weekend is often over in the blink of an eye, and come Monday morning it’s off to work for the masses. The daily commute, whether it be by any means of transport, is often chaotic, crowded and frankly rather unpleasant for many.

It is a self – evident truth that our transport network is overcrowded. Even now with unemployment rates not seen for a generation, many of us will struggle for hours every day to travel to our respective workplaces.

Can the government help?

The government could assist by offering business rate reductions for employers willing to facilitate their employees working from home.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Andrew Stunell MP writes: Re-localisation of business rates will give councils real financial freedom

Yesterday’s announcement of our plan to re-localise business rates is one of the most significant reforms announced by the Coalition so far. Ok, not as newsworthy as the phone hacking scandal, but it’s big news for local democracy nonetheless. It marks another fundamental shift from central control to local responsibility.

Under the current local government funding system, Whitehall dishes out grant allocations to councils each year based on an incomprehensible formula that is far too complex and lacking in transparency. Most of this money is funded by the business rates, collected locally, but funnelled centrally, and then reallocated. Councils are left at the whim of the formula-setter in Whitehall, and there is no incentive to promote business growth either. All you get are the extra HGVs, but none of the rates income! All this is about to change.

So what are the main things that Liberal Democrats need to know?

Posted in Local government | Also tagged | 13 Comments
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