The Conservative party has promised to reduce the “overall burden” of business rates at its first budget review, if they win the upcoming election next month.
In a statement, the party said: “Business rates are one of the top concerns of British businesses, so a Conservative majority Government will launch a fundamental review at our first budget, consulting widely.
“We will reduce the overall burden of business rates as part of this review.”
This will be made possible by increasing employment allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, thereby cutting National Insurance for more than half a million businesses by up to £1,000.
Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at real estate adviser Altus Group, commented: “The Government undertook a comprehensive review of business rates at the budget in March 2015, publishing its response a year later. Essentially we will be going over old ground, with the tough questions having already been asked, albeit that review was fiscally neutral.
“Business of all sizes will, however, be delighted to hear of the commitment to lower the overall burden, as we are far too reliant upon property for tax revenues with UK property taxes the highest across the European Union and the standard rate of tax at its highest level since 1990.”
Boris Johnson’s pledge comes ahead of today’s 2019 annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, which will see Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and a senior Cabinet Minister all take to the stage.
CBI last week released its “A Programme for Prosperity” manifesto for all party leaders, claiming that the next government needs to “address day-to-day concerns that have been neglected, including unreformed business rates [and] fixing the broken apprenticeship levy.”
It also said the UK needs to establish a new immigration system, which provides access to labour and skills and gives businesses time to adapt.
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Whoever is in power after the election, the top priority must be to work with business to provide bolder, better and fairer answers to the challenges facing our country.
“We simply cannot afford another wasted year of political paralysis, indecision and distraction while productivity and investment suffer. Public faith in our politicians and institutions continues to erode, the historic partnership between business and government is under strain.