Thank you for contacting me about local shops and reforming the business rates system.
I understand that there is a great deal of interest in potential changes to the business rates. The business rates system is clearly an area of UK tax policy which requires re-examination to ensure that it minimises the burden on businesses as far as possible and certainly doesn’t place a burden on business that it simply cannot bear any longer. I therefore very much welcome that, alongside a 2023 revaluation to accurately reflect the impact of Covid-19, the Government has initiated a fundamental review into the business rates system as a whole.
The review’s aims reflect a desire to, amongst other considerations, address concerns about complexity, improve the targeting of reliefs, examine alternative methods of setting business rates multipliers and investigate how the billing process can be modernised and digitised.
Having completed its initial call for evidence in October 2020, I look forward to the outcome of the Business Rates Review to see what proposals we can discuss and potentially implement to improve the system. I am particularly aware, of course, that help may be needed to assist the recovery of British high streets following the horrific economic shock of Covid-19, and that business rates have been a significant burden on ‘bricks and mortar’ high street operators in a way that they have not been on online shopping outlets.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter. As you can see, I agree with the thrust of what you say and I am engaging in a positive way with the Chancellor and his Treasury team on these issues.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking