“A fairer tax system is needed so that shopping streets can compete with online shops,” says Bexhill MP
The city’s chamber of commerce said small businesses working from home and selling online are “discouraged” from expanding and acquiring premises due to “fear” of high business rates.
The comments come as Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman called for reform of the system during a debate in the House of Commons.
Commercial rates currently vary depending on the size and location of the business premises and are based on the property valuation.
Mr Merriman said: “The UK has the biggest property taxes. It is a tax on jobs and a tax on businesses, and I would like them to be reformed.
“We have had a number of reviews and the last one referenced in last week’s budget does not bring in the sweeping reforms I want to see.
“I would love to see corporate tariffs replaced.
“I represent a constituency in Sussex that is dependent for employment on small businesses in recreation, tourism and retail. Corporate rates are a tax on businesses and jobs and lead to uncertainty. “
Speaking after the debate in the House of Commons, Mr Merriman added: “We need to make the tax system fairer to ensure that all businesses contribute fairly and so that our shopping streets can compete more favorably with online-only stores. .
“In order to do that, we need to make sure that the tax is based on turnover or sales rather than ownership and that is what I have called for in the support for small business debate.”
Howard Martin, President of the Bexhill Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Bexhill Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for a complete overhaul of the trade rate tax system.
“As a property tax, it stifles investment and restricts the growth of small businesses. A very successful micro-business working from home and selling online is discouraged from expanding and taking premises due to fear of high commercial rates.
“The local government’s rate relief system is excessively complex and time consuming. We would like to see a turnover tax system in which business taxation is based on turnover rather than the size of premises, thus creating a level playing field for everyone, from Amazon smaller businesses operating from home.
“It could easily be linked to the VAT threshold to completely exclude some small businesses.
“We fully support Huw Merriman in this campaign and hope it will be successful as soon as possible. Businesses need all the help they can get.