Industrials call for overhaul of business rates

Caitlin Morrison
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A GROUP of industrial companies has called on the Chancellor George Osborne to overhaul the business rates tax or risk making the UK an unattractive destination for investment.

In a letter to the Chancellor, signed by around 15 companies, including General Motors, Tata Steel, Siemens and chemical firm BASF, the current tax regime was described as “simply not fit for purpose”.

A source close to the group of signatories said there was a “growing coalition of industrial firms who are expressing concern about the high level of business rates in the UK and the consequences for investment”.

While the group said it recognised the British government was “not in a financial position to close the gap between the UK’s rates bill and those in mainland Europe”, it laid out a set of steps deemed possible to “simplify the system”.

These included the removal of plant and machinery from business rates valuation in the short term, and in the medium term a valuation model based on capital values, rather than hypothetical rental values.

The letter urged Osborne to take action in the upcoming Autumn Statement and requested a meeting with the Chancellor and his team.

The Treasury declined to comment.

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