Local MP Tim Farron met with the Chancellor yesterday to make the case for a much-needed tax break for businesses on Cumbria’s high streets.
The Government are currently proposing a Digital Services Tax of 2% for online companies which would pay towards a cut of a third on business rates for small firms.
But during the meeting Tim argued that the plans, which would raise just £400m, didn’t go far enough and he proposed a larger tax to raise enough money to halve business rates and pay for a reduction in the rates for chains on the high street that are struggling to get by.
The Chancellor conceded that the 2% rise was just a proposed figure and could be increased as a result of responses to the consultation that the Government are running.
Tim is encouraging local businesses to take part in the consultation and to call for the tax to be increased for the big online retailers to fund a tax break for the high street.
Tim said: “I had a very constructive meeting with the Chancellor where I made clear that extortionate business rates was the biggest hurdle that local firms faces.
“The reality of where we are now is mega online companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook pay very little tax, if any at all, and yet businesses in places like Kendal, Ambleside, Windermere, and Milnthorpe are paying through their noses in business rates.
“I pressed the Chancellor to push those companies to pay their fair share with the money going towards halving rates for our local hard-working businesses on our high streets.
“The good thing is the Chancellor indicated that we could lobby for more tax to be raised than the paltry 2% the Government currently wants.
“So, I’d encourage local businesses to take part in the consultation to ask for a much higher rate of tax for mega online companies so we can raise enough money to invest in our high streets, protect them and save them.”
The Government’s consultation can be found here.