CBI is doing its best to keep business rates in the spotlight
All eyes are on the CBI conference today where the political leaders are on stage to tell business leaders why the economy will be safe in their hands after December 12.
None of the trio – Boris, Jeremy or Jo – will be providing all the right answers for the partisan audience. Jeremy’s nationalisation policies and Boris’s speedy U-turn on corporation tax cuts have been under the microscope already but it is heartening to hear that the CBI is continuing to push its members’ very visible agenda and it doesn’t just revolve around Brexit.
CBI Director-General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn was on Breakfast TV this morning talking about the negative impact of business rates and her colleague Annie Gascoyne, Director of Economic Policy, has also gone on the record to talk about the recent Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry into business rates.
She said: “It’s good to see the Treasury Select Committee’s report reaffirming the CBI’s position that the business rates system is broken and in need of urgent reform.
“Business rates – in their current form – are outdated, inflexible and unsustainable. By including plant and machinery within the scope, business rates are often the tipping point for investment decisions, risking vital initiatives such as decarbonising the economy and rolling out full fibre broadband to rural areas.
“At the last General Election, all political parties recognised the need to reform the business rates system. Firms hope that this commitment will be made in manifestos in the coming weeks.”
The CBI is just one in a long line of lobbying groups that are keeping business rates on the current political agenda; let’s hope the momentum can continue up to and the beyond the General Election
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the latest big name to call on the government to extend the business rates holiday beyond April 2021.
The retail and hospitality sectors are mobilising the troops with dire warnings that thousands of business are at risk if the rates holiday isn’t extended beyond April 2021.
The pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged against business rates by Scottish firms alone.