Government must reform business rates

Lib Dems believe we should not punish high streets for investment, and that we should reform business rates to relax the burden on retail. We need to see this change happen to encourage more investment in our towns and cities and to give the high street a fighting chance in the modern world. Government must get to work on reviewing business rates - it's already far too overdue.

As we try to recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, that has already caused so much grief and hardship to families across the country and the world, we must ensure that jobs as secure and retailers at risk are protected.

Sadly in Watford, despite the shopping centre being one of the most successful central shopping areas in the country, we've seen Debenhams and John Lewis announce store closures directly. This has no doubt been accelerated by the huge shock to the economy caused by Coronavirus but is also a window into an underlying problem with our business rates system; they are fundamentally broken.

Right now businesses also face a huge amount of uncertainty from the delayed business rates revaluation. A call for evidence to support the review was due to be launched in Spring of this year with the report due in the Autumn. This review is critical to support long term sustainability of the British high street and British pubs.

We call on Government to end the delay and review business rates now.

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