Give councils the full fiscal tools to do the job

By Michael Burton | 13 September 2017
  • Michael Burton

Governments of all political hues are dab hands at giving to local government with one hand and taking away with the other. Take fiscal devolution. The sector has long campaigned for the localisation of business rates and ministers have offered first 50% and now, though as yet we cannot be certain, 100% by 2020. At the same time business rate, whose increases needless to say moved from RPI to the lower CPI, is increasingly unstable as a tax base.

Part of this is due to the way it is based on floorspace which makes little sense when successful companies often reduce rather than expand their premises to be more efficient and when online retailing is shafting the high street. The powerful business lobby has also made its views pretty clear about the unpopularity of the rate, as it did with the recent revaluation, almost putting local government secretary Sajid Javid’s head on the chopping block.

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Budgets and efficiency Finance Business rates Devolution Fiscal Freedom