Following Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ speech at the Labour Party Conference, Shevaun Haviland, Director General at the BCC, said:
“Businesses welcome any attempt to blunt the rise in business rates and the prospect of a more fundamental reform of a broken system. Chamber businesses have been calling for reform for years.
"The current arrangements are a barrier to investment and cause an unnecessarily large burden to be placed upon businesses regardless of their ability to pay. Wholesale reform of this longstanding drag anchor on business has become only more pressing due to Covid-19 and the damage done to High Streets and town centres.
"The Shadow Chancellor is right to highlight that reforming Business Rates must also be placed within a wider context of how businesses are taxed and the need to build a tax system fit for the future, including how online-only businesses are taxed. However, any changes must be done in close consultation with business and international partners to ensure the UK can continue to compete effectively on the global stage.
“Care should also be taken when reviewing tax reliefs as they can play an important role in incentivising investment that may not happen otherwise.
“The promise of extra investment to aid the transition to net zero is a much-needed step. However, there also needs to be a great focus on supporting smaller firms who remain understandably concerned about perceived extra costs and red tape if they want to change.”