Plans to change business rates that will see massive rises for London shops and other small businesses while going easy on off-shore multi-national internet giants have been slammed by the Liberal Democrats.
Official figures show that Tower Hamlets area will see business rates rise by 8.7 per cent.
Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Democrat PPC for Poplar & Limehouse constituency, said:
“Many local small businesses are extremely worried about this change. Against a backdrop of increased rents and fierce competition from online retailers, many shops and small businesses are being punished by the Conservative government simply for committing to the economic life of their neighbourhoods.
“Why should a local sandwich shop face an increase that could threaten its entire business, yet Amazon’s giant warehouses enjoy a taxcut?
“If that were not galling enough, local firms have to pay increased business rates for improvements they make to properties that in many cases they don’t even own. Even the Conservatives should admit that this cannot be fair. It is time they held their hand up, admitted they have got this all wrong, and start again.”
Elaine Bagshaw has called for ministers to reform both business rates and corporation tax so firms will be taxed according to their ability to pay. Elaine Bagshaw added: “Vince Cable is chairing a commission for the Liberal Democrats to come up with a fair and effective system. The sad thing is that this was avoidable, but the Conservatives shelved a proposal from the Liberal Democrats during the last coalition government to reform the system.
“Small business owners in Tower Hamlets are already reeling from the Conservative Brexit government’s decision to go for a hard Brexit and take us out of the Single Market. Now they are being asked to pick up the tab while the government let big international business off the hook. This is yet another example of a Conservative Government that has lost any right to call itself ‘the Party of Business’.”