Business rates are a “ticking time bomb” for small companies in England which should be offered emergency help, the shadow business secretary has said.
Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey said many firms faced “cliff-edge” rises when new valuations take effect in April and that the process had been mishandled. The government says it has established a £3.6bn transitional fund to help businesses facing big jumps in rates. A spokesman said the changes meant all businesses would get a “fair deal”. However, Ms Long-Bailey said: “The reality is that business rates are a ticking time bomb. “It cannot be right for smaller town centre retailers to be facing massive hikes while the Amazons and ASOSs of this world have their business rates cut.”
’20th century system’
Labour’s plan would include a fund worth £150m a year for the next three years for small and medium-sized firms at risk of bankruptcy due to “sharp and unmanageable” increases. It would be distributed by councils under already established powers to provide discretionary relief, with the cost covered by central government.