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Shadow Business and International Trade Minister outlines Labour’s pledge on business rates system r


The next Labour Government will radically reform the business rates system and immediately introduce statutory annual revaluations, Shadow Business and International Trade Minister Bill Esterson announced today.


In a speech to the Association of Convenience Stores Annual Conference at Church House, London, the Shadow Minister promised to “guarantee a fair and transparent appeals process, bring forward CPI indexation and exclude new investment in plant and machinery from future business rates valuations”.


The Labour frontbencher reinforced the party’s General Election manifesto commitment of ‘standing up’ for businesses right across the UK, and said the party will “wage war on late payments by using Government procurement to ensure that anyone bidding for a government contract pays its own suppliers within 30 days.”


The MP for Sefton Central also called out the unfair practice of major corporations escaping their duty of paying taxes through “sweetheart deals at HMRC”.


In the speech, Mr Esterson said:


“Labour will radically reform the business rates system in the long term and would immediately introduce statutory annual revaluations, guarantee a fair and transparent appeals process, bring forward CPI indexation and exclude new investment in plant and machinery from future business rates valuations. Not only have the Government failed small businesses in regard to business rates, they failed to handle the scourge of late payments which, as you will all know, means small businesses struggle to cover costs, invest and may even go bust. Two and a half million businesses are affected by late payment. 50,000 businesses are estimated to go out of business every year because of late payment. It is the number one challenge faced by SMEs – as late payment presents major cash flow headaches for firms.


“Labour has a clear message: for the many, not the few. And this extends far beyond social and economic justice to the business environment too. We don’t think it’s fair that major corporations duck out of taxes with sweetheart deals at HMRC, whilst smaller businesses have to comply to the letter. Everybody should contribute their fair share of taxes. We don’t think it’s fair that small businesses can go under because a major supplier fails to pay them. We don’t think it’s fair that small businesses can’t get the finance they need to grow because the Big Six banks won’t lend. Labour’s offer for small businesses is based on fairness and we will build an economy that works for the many businesses, not the giant few multinationals.”

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