Business group pushes for cap on rising rates

A NEW report released today by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calls on the government to cap annual business rate increases at two per cent, and to review the whole system.

The CBI’s research highlights how much business rates have risen in comparison to other taxes. In the decade up to the 2012-13 financial year, government revenues from business rates surged by 38.4 per cent.

In comparison, employers’ national insurance contributions and corporation tax revenues only grew by 26.2 and 7.2 per cent respectively.

When asked about Ed Miliband’s recent proposal to freeze business rates, the CBI’s chief policy director Katja Hall was quick to stress that the organisation did not agree with his proposal to do so at the expense of a planned corporation tax cut in 2015.

For urban regeneration, the CBI also recommends major planning reforms, citing the importance of affordable housing to business development. The report suggests that while enough households every year are formed to fill a city the size of Sheffield, only half as many houses are being built. The report also notes that councils are not working closely enough together to ensure more houses are built.

Strong individual leaders are also advocated, along the lines of the London mayor or Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester city council.