The Liberal Democrats have published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system, cutting taxes for businesses by eight per cent in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson Max Wilkinson said the plans would help ensure businesses in Cheltenham are able to thrive.
The report – Taxing Land, Not Investment – calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL).
The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses.
Business rates are set by the government and collected by councils.
Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on the proposals at the party’s Autumn Conference in Brighton next month.
Cheltenham Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson Max Wilkinson said:
“Time and again I have heard concerns about the devastating impact of business rates on high streets and the wider local economy.
“It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to design a tax system that ensures businesses are able to thrive, but ministers are not doing anywhere near enough.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why we are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in Cheltenham.
“At a time when the borough council is driving investment in our town centre, alongside the opening of John Lewis and new shops coming to the Brewery, this policy has the potential to make a big difference.”
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable added:
“Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy. They are a tax on productive investment at a time of chronically weak productivity growth, and a burden on high streets struggling to adapt to the rise of online retail.
“Many of the areas around the country that voted for Brexit feel they have been left behind. In place of policies the Brexiters offer only rhetoric. Great swathes of the country demand better, and this policy offers change to the manufacturing industry and the small towns passed over by economic growth.”