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Responding to the BBC’s report on empty businesses costing UK taxpayers £1bn a year the Chamber again calls for urgent reform of the system.

The NWLCC is calling for steps to be introduced which would help alleviate some of the excessive financial pressures put on businesses by rates.  As it stands, the system creates a number of perverse incentives in relation to  business location, property improvement and plant & machinery investment.

The policy of fiscal neutrality means that there are winners and losers across the country.  The Government needs to abandon the fiscal neutrality principle in business rates reform which currently acts as an unacceptable barrier to fundamental reform of the system.

Excluding plant and machinery from valuations would remove a perverse incentive for investment and businesses should be allowed to appeal valuations through simpler and fairer processes.  Business rates is an up-front cost which businesses pay heavily, before even making a penny profit.

BABS MURPHY – CEO

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