Labour pledges to scrap business rates and target online giants

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has announced that if Labour wins the next election, it will cut and eventually scrap business rates to replace them with a new system “fit for the 21st century” and impose higher taxes on BigTech retailers like Amazon.

The announcement follows news over the weekend that Labour has plans to set up an Office for Value for Money to tackle government waste and introduce a new set of fiscal rules to “get a handle on public finances and to “tax fairly.”

At the Labour conference, Reeves said that the party would “shift the burden” of businesses taxes to create a level playing field.

“Our high street businesses do so much to enrich our lives and our communities, facing huge adversity in the past year,” said Reeves. “They are struggling right now, with a cliff-edge in rates relief coming up in March.

“The next Labour government will scrap business rates. We will carry out the biggest overhaul of business taxation in a generation, so our businesses can lead the pack, not watch opportunities go elsewhere.”

The shadow chancellor said that Labour would guarantee the new system would incentivise investment, feature more frequent revaluations, and instant reductions in bills where property values fall, reward businesses that move into empty premises, “encourage, not penalise,” green improvements to businesses, and no public services or local authorities will lose out from these changes.

“Labour’s approach will be based on working together, with businesses, workers and public bodies all pulling together in a national endeavour to rebuild Britain and to seize the opportunities of the future,” she added.

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