Hammond under yet more pressure as property experts call for business rates reform

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high street health

Philip Hammond faced further calls for tangible changes to business rates this week as property experts weighed in on the issue.

“Given the ever-rising crescendo of complaints from across the ratepayer spectrum, I’ll eat my hat if there are no business rates announcements in the autumn Budget,” said Gerald Eve head of business rates Jerry Schruder.

“But it will be no surprise – although still disappointing – if all the chancellor reveals are further sticking plaster measures.”

Schruder also urged the chancellor to introduce a tax on online retailers, an idea Hammond hinted at back in August when he told Sky News he would consider “tax measures to rebalance the playing field”.

Last month Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis implored the government to issue a £1.25 billion so-called ‘Amazon tax’ on products sold on the internet.

In a separate proposal to the governments’ digital service tax, Lewis argued that measures need to be introduced to combat the pressure bricks and mortar retailers are facing on the high street.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Lewis implored chancellor Hammond to impose a two per cent charge on goods sold online.

Earlier this week Labour shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey also said Hammond would need to make tangible changes to business rates in order to help stem store closures and the loss of retail jobs.

Long-Bailey warned the Commons against “another year of meaningless tinkering”, adding:

“Sadly, I’ve got a sense of deja vu – at the last Autumn Statement business groups warned of the devastating effect of business rates but in return we saw only minor tinkering.”

The Budget is expected to be announced on October 29.

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