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Hike corporation tax to cut business rates, urge retail bosses

Retail bosses to call on government to increase corporation tax to 21% to slash business rates by £6bn

 Bleak closed high street shop, corporation tax business rates concept

Closing down: retail bosses will urge Treasury to hike corporation tax to help save high street

Retail bosses will call for the Treasury to increase corporation tax in order to cut business rates by £6bn.

A sub-committee of the Retail Sector Council is reportedly calling for the Treasury to raise corporation tax by 2 per cent to 23 per cent to raise around £6bn a year by 2022/23. Other proposals cover VAT reform and tax and property cost transparency.

The group will make the recommendations in a document to be shared across Whitehall in the coming weeks, Sky News has reported.

According to Sky News, the extra revenue would be used to reduce the business rate multiplier to around 40p in the pound.

Corporation tax is currently 19 per cent for UK companies. During the election, Labour proposed increasing the rate to 26 per cent (with a lower 21 per cent rate for businesses with annual turnover of under £300,000).

High street decline

The Retail Sector Council was set up in 2018 to help address the decline of the UK high street and increase the productivity of the retail sector.

It is currently co-chaired by small business minister Kelly Tolhurst and former Co-op chief executive Richard Pennycook, who is also the chair of department store chain Fenwicks. Other members include ASOS CEO Nick Beighton, Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr, and Sir Charlie Mayfield, former chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

Office for National Statistics saying recently that retail sales had failed to rise for a record fifth consecutive month in December.

Data published by the British Retail Consortium in October showed the number of shoppers visiting high streets, retail parks and shopping centres had slumped by 10 per cent during the last seven years.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference last September, recently re-elected Parliamentary business select committee chairman Rachel Reeves said that business rates reform is the tool to heal hurting small businesses. Reeves said the Conservative government’s priority has been cutting corporation tax for corporates, while ignoring small businesses.

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