The rise is a kick in the teeth for manufacturers, retailers, and office tenants alike – the people the Chancellor is depending upon to boost capital investment and drive productivity growth – especially after this year’s revaluations saw many firms’ rates bills spiral.
The BCC proposes offsetting this by pausing further cuts in Corporation Tax from the current rate of 19% until after we leave the European Union, using the resulting headroom to help pay for an up-front business rates cut.
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce commented on behalf of Lincolnshire businesses saying:
“Tackling the upfront cost of doing business as well as pledging not to introduce any more input taxes and other significant costs including business rates is key to saving and supporting those businesses who are currently facing spiralling upfront costs.
“Many smaller retailers are telling us that business rates are precluding them from either taking on new premises or are significantly knocking profitability, which may have a huge impact on the landscape of our market towns”.
“Support to improve our county’s infrastructure including digital, broadband, mobile data and transportation and road maintenance and increased capacity is also a priority given our rural surrounding and connectivity.
“Lincolnshire businesses would also benefit from a business incentive during the Brexit process – through the introduction of a ‘Brexit Special’ Annual Investment Allowance temporarily increasing the limit to £1 million.
“Overall, there needs to be a strong focus on boosting productivity and growth as well as housing and development, and support for Lincolnshire businesses who are looking to enter new markets”.
Mike Spicer, Director of Research and Economics at the BCC, said:
“As a share of national income, the UK has the highest commercial property taxes of any major economy, which drains firms of the cash flow needed to invest in the talent, tools and technology of the future. Higher and higher rates mean British businesses are less likely to improve their plant and premises for fear of even greater rates bills.
“It would be unconscionable for the government to slam businesses with a huge rise in rates, particularly when they already face spiralling up-front costs. A failure to act would hit the high street, manufacturers and others hard – and undermine the sort of investment we need to boost productivity.
“The Budget is a time where tough decisions have to be made. But clobbering businesses with up-front costs at a time when productivity is in dire need of a boost is not the answer. The Chancellor must raise the animal spirits of companies and take real action on business rates at the Budget.”
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