The Liberal Democrats have published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system, cutting taxes for businesses by 19% in the Cotswold District.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cotswold District Council, Cllr Joe Harris has described the plans as “exactly the sort of policy we need to boost local investment and ensure businesses in the Cotswolds 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.
Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on the proposals at the party’s Autumn Conference in Brighton next month.
Cllr Harris said:
“Time and again I have heard concerns about the devastating impact of business rates on struggling local businesses across the Cotswolds.
“It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to ensure that our businesses are able to thrive, but ministers are not doing anywhere near enough and the Conservatives at Cotswold District Council continue to sit on their hands when it comes to economic development.
“Liberal Democrats believe you deserve better. That is why we are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in the Cotswolds.
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.”