As the way we shop is changing, we agree with the Committee that the business rates system needs to be modernised to ensure that sectors such as online businesses make a fair contribution.
Responding to the report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the future of high streets, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said:
“Many councils throughout the country are already leading the way in transforming the future potential of their town centres in the face of unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape.
“As the way we shop is changing, we agree with the Committee that the business rates system needs to be modernised to ensure that sectors such as online businesses make a fair contribution. The LGA has also called for measures to be taken on retailers who avoid paying business rates on retail premises.
“Councils can do more to support small businesses and boost high streets with the freedom and finance to set business rates discounts and reliefs locally. They also need more powers and flexibility, particularly in relation to planning, to help shape and deliver vibrant town centres.
“The LGA is ready to work with the Government, councils and other stakeholders to help secure a prosperous long-term future for our high streets and town and city centres.”
Notes to editors
- The LGA is a member of the Government’s Future High Street Forum and recently launched a booklet ‘Revitalising Town Centres – A handbook for Council Leadership’ as a guide and framework for all councils looking to inject a new lease of life into their town centres. - www.local.gov.uk/revitalising-town-centres-handbook-council-leadership
- The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information - www.local.gov.uk/spending-review-2019