Lib Dems amend a budget to "breathe new life" into local high streets

March 9, 2020 10:53 PM
By Cllr Will Forster

Ahead of the budget the Lib Dems are calling on the Chancellor to scrap business rates and replace them with a landowner levy to "breathe new life" into high streets in Woking.

Acting Leader of the Lib Dems, Ed Davey, has warned that "the retail sector sounded the alarm bell on business rates a long time ago and Brexit has made these pressures even worse" and urged the Chancellor to fully adopt his party's policy in the Budget.

The Lib Dems want to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy based on the value of the land only. This would take the cost off businesses and help support high streets. By taxing landowners rather than businesses half a million small businesses across the country would be spared the burden of property taxation. The proposals would cut taxes for businesses across Woking Borough.

Will ForsterLib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, said:

"Many retailers and small businesses in Woking town centre and across villages in the Borough are under pressure from economic uncertainty; the rise of online retail and the burden of business rates. With development and roadworks piling on the pressure business rates need to go."

"It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to ensure that our businesses are able to thrive, but Ministers in Whitehall are not doing anywhere near enough."

"That is why the Lib Dems and I are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in Woking. Our message is clear; every Lib Dem elected in May is another voice championing our town centres and villages."

Acting Leader of the Lib Dems, Ed Davey MP, added:

"The Conservative government has ignored British high streets for too long by allowing the broken business rates system to continue. There is no more time to waste. The Chancellor must announce in the budget that he will adopt the Lib Dem policy now rather than simply consult to introduce it in the long term."

"The retail sector sounded the alarm bell on business rates a long time ago and Brexit has made these pressures even worse as the Local Data Company's closures figures show. Manufacturing faces similar struggles where Johnson's trade barriers are adding more costs on top of their already high business rates bill."

"The Government cannot afford to let two key sectors of our economy that employ millions get crushed between business rates and Brexit. The Lib Dems will keep pushing the Government to take urgent action in the upcoming budget."