Commenting ahead of the speech by the leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, John Longworth, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
"Labour must realise that you can't rob Peter to pay Paul. Business rates are an iniquitous tax and a drag on business – hitting companies of all sizes long before they make profits. Ed Miliband is right to look for ways to ease the business rates burden, as the BCC has urged the Treasury to do for years now. Yet we question why a freeze or cut in business rates for smaller firms should be offset by a delayed reduction in corporation tax.
“To create an environment where companies can thrive, both business rates and corporation tax rates have to be contained, and the broken business rates system fundamentally reformed. The notion that you can offset cuts in one tax with changes to another doesn't deal with the real problem – the fact that the business rates system is bust and in need of reform. Ultimately, companies of all sizes need to be clear on taxes and rates bills, so that they can generate jobs and wealth with certainty.”