by danielbarker on 12 March, 2019
MPs have urged ministers to assess specific proposals for reforming business rates by the autumn.
In a recently published report, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee said correcting the imbalance in business rates paid by online and high street retailers was crucial to ‘securing the future of the high street and the retailers which will always be an important part of it’.
The committee urged the Government to assess proposals including a ratings methodology for the warehouses of online retailers and replacing business rates for retailers with a sales tax or rise in VAT.
Chair of the Local Government Association’s resources board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: ‘As the way we shop is changing, we agree with the committee that the business rates system needs to be modernised to ensure that sectors such as online businesses make a fair contribution.’
More widely, the MPs put local government at the centre of reviving high streets and town centres.
However, given the financial pressures they face and cuts to planning and other relevant departments, the report said councils would need significant financial backing from central government.
Chris Mahony (LGA)
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