As the manifesto seems to be very popular this week, I will read from it. We said:
“we will also conduct a full review of the business rates system to make sure it is up to date for a world in which people increasingly shop online”.
The pretty market town of Alresford in my constituency has a chocolate box row of shops that includes a beautiful bookshop, but people increasingly tell me they use it to look, view and try, and then go online to buy the books. It is totally untrue that the Government have not done anything to help with businesses rates—we have supported those affected by the revaluation, introduced the discretionary rates scheme and said we will introduce more regular revaluations—and the very good Minister, who is in his place, has done a lot. That said, it is probably time to consider a more structural change away from just property—I understand why the Treasury likes property taxes—to a more transaction-based tax, which might help bookstores such as the one I referred to in Alresford.