Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the CBI conference, Tom Ironside, Business & Regulation Policy Director at the BRC, said:
“The Labour Party’s proposal for a retail industry innovation ‘catapult’ centre is intriguing, but further detail is needed to understand how this will aid in the development of a UK digital economy. Digital infrastructure is essential to the future of UK retail as more consumers go online to buy products and for the digital economy to grow, financial support and an ambitious commitment to training future generations in technology is needed. Businesses need the next Government to accelerate its investment in broadband and mobile technologies and enable businesses to build the required skills faster.
“On creating a fair and functional tax system, we support Labour’s call to link business rates to CPI and Government should go further by freezing rates in 2018 given the expected 3.9 per cent increase. The expected £270 m increase on retailers will have a particularly negative impact on economically vulnerable places just as Corbyn advocates to bring prosperity to all local communities. The BRC has long supported more frequent revaluations to ensure a fairer business rates system, but believe they should be implemented on a three-yearly basis in the first instance to assess the impact on businesses. Looking to the medium term, fundamental reform is essential to ensure fairness and sustainability for all business tax payers.”