PM Boris Johnson announces plans to cut business rates at CBI conference

Conservative party leader Johnson announced today at the annual Confederation of British industry (CBI) conference today his plans to cut business rates.

Speaking at the event, according to The Daily Mail, the current Prime Minister explains the measures he has introduced in order to help businesses to flourish and to stimulate the high street, including cutting national insurance contributions and increasing the reliefs for new builds that businesses needs.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast today, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI, the organisation which speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses said that a significant issue for businesses is how the economy is going to be made more competitive, for example through business rates and property taxes.

Business rates are a tax based on rental values of the property that businesses occupy.

They are typically 50.4% of the market rent – but there are lots of complex reductions, while smaller businesses pay a bit less.

Some smaller businesses complain that rates have increased faster than inflation since the current regime was introduced in 1990. 

A recent parliamentary inquiry found the UK had more than double the average of this kind of tax in more wealthy countries.

However, it’s one of the biggest sources of government revenue, raising £31bn in England in the last financial year.

Retailers complain that business rates are a factor in the closure of small shops.

Johnson also announced that the Tories are postponing further cuts in corporation tax which had been due to fall from 19% to 17% next year.

He told the CBI: “Let me remind you that this saves £6bn that we can put into the priorities of the British people including the NHS and we have already cut it from 28% to 19%”

Johnson said that this would still be the lowest of any major economy.

A spokesperson from FSB Scotland, a UK Small Business Support Organisation  said: “The comments made by Johnson don’t really apply to Scotland. We continue to work with Government to ensure Scottish businesses work better.”