EEF questions Labour’s business rates pledge

Posted on 2 Apr 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

EEF are asking whether today’s promise from Labour to reduce business rates for small businesses includes provisions for small manufacturers.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls will reiterate Labour’s plans not to carry out the last reduction in corporation tax intended by the Government.

The party maintains that slashing business rates would create advantages for 17 small businesses for every large firm.

However, EEF representatives are concerned about Labour’s definition of small businesses and urges leaders to make sure this includes small manufacturers.

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EEF are concerned about small businesses operating from big sites.

Commenting on Labour’s announcement, Paul Raynes, director of Policy at EEF, said:

“Business rates are an unwelcome and unavoidable cost. Many small manufacturers occupy big sites and so pay big rates bills, and will want to know that Labour’s definition of small businesses applies to them, too.

“Businesses will also want reassurance that business rates relief isn’t simply going to be paid for by redistributing their tax burden. In particular, the rate of corporation tax needs to stay where it is and not go up to pay for this, as Labour previously said it would.

“There has been a need for a long-term roadmap for capital allowances and R&D tax credits for some time and it is good to see Labour adopting the idea. Encouraging investment is crucial to driving future productivity and getting the tax system right is an important part of that.”

Later Mr Ball sis poised to tell the public: “This is part of our plan to deliver a simpler and fairer tax system for small businesses.

“This is the right priority when money is tight. And it will mean that the tax burden on small businesses will be lower with Labour than under the Tories.”

“Every large business started off as a small business and I want to ensure smaller firms have the support they need to grow, invest, innovate and raise their productivity.

“Our plan will help small firms create more high skilled, high paid jobs which are vital to raising living standards.”

The Conservatives have hit back, calling labour’s announcement a threat to 100,000 jobs and simply an attempt to “make a political point”.