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Rates do penalise (businesses) for improvement

September 27, 2018 10:50 AM
By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

Dear Sir,

I am grateful to "DC" of Congleton for responding to my letter on business rates in last week's Chronicle.

He is right that I do not pretend to understand the niceties of how these rates are calculated and collected.

However, they do penalise improving a business, especially those operating at low margins such as Shakeeze and so act as an impediment to such change.

They do this because the rates are calculated on the value of the property as calculated by an independent evaluator rather than just the land that it is built on.

Business rates do go straight to local councils though after a realignment so that poorer areas receive more and richer ones less than that collected by them.

This issue of the loss of revenue to councils, mentioned by "DC" was discussed during the debate at our party conference this week and the solution is that as part of our policy, no council would suffer fi nancially and any defi cit made up by central government.

It is worth pointing out that some prosperous councils will have increased payments under this proposed scheme and this will also help to subsidise those collecting less.

Taxing land rather than capital and labour is a long-standing Liberal Democrat policy and will help to optimise the use of land that is otherwise underused or derelict.

Not surprisingly, the motion that I can supply on request was passed by a very large majority and I was privileged to be allowed to speak to conference supporting this worthwhile policy.

Yours faithfully,