What is the future, post Covid-19, for business rates?

The Express is vocally campaigning for the permanent abolition of business rates.

Commercial Property Advisors (CPA) , specialists in rates reductions, agrees that the rates are a burden on on business, particularly visible on the high street.

However, CPA takes a more  pragmatic, nuanced view than calling for outright abolition, and campaigns for a staged approach, once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

CPA recommends:

An urgent introduction of an online sales tax;

All benefits from the tax to be ploughed into serious re-generation of the high street, via local incentives to improve the quality and appearance of our shops;

The British Retail Consortium and local authorities jointly to monitor local schemes, and make funded (kite-marked) awards where appropriate;

Business rate to be more closely aligned to turnover.

CPA believes it is not feasible to abolish rates wholesale, since, relatively easy to collect and hard to avoid, they are increasingly used to finance local and national government, council tax having hit its ceiling of affordability.

Thus, business rates need reform, but they must not distract us from addressing long-seated problems, particularly in the retail business.

Post covid-19, a national priority must be repairing the physical damage to our high streets.

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