I want to make a little more progress.
The Government want to make tax digital, citing that they will be
“transforming tax administration so that it is more effective, more efficient”.
Would it not be worth investigating how tax could become truly joined up by ensuring that an allowance would be applied automatically, maybe at the point at which the Valuation Office Agency makes a valuation of a property? If it comes up to £51,000, that would automatically trigger the allowance that a business would be able to get, and it would simply be deducted from its bill. What a great simplification of government that would be.
There is a precedent for this, of course. Income tax has a personal allowance for all but the top 5% of earners, and that is automated. I am advocating the same principle for rates. I believe that this policy could get cross-party support. After all, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s report, “High streets and town centres in 2030”, recommended
“that the complexity surrounding rate reliefs and the administrative burden they create for retailers should be addressed” and simplified. All this needs is joined-up thinking and a plan of action to allow the Treasury to adapt the current operational systems for the benefit of businesses up and down the country.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I am grateful to you for allowing me to speak about this important subject at length. I hope that, as a result of my speech, we will see some action from the Government to ensure that business rates are reformed.