Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has called the new business rates, a “ticking time bomb."
The government says it has established a £3.6bn transitional fund to help businesses face big increases, but many large retailers are likely to benefit from reduced rates on their out-of-town sites, while smaller ones – particularly in the South-east – are expecting an immediate 40% rise.
The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that nearly a fifth of small businesses are considering closing down or selling. Our high streets will change irrevocably: they will become the exculsive domain of big international chains. In the long term, Labour says, the system needs to be changed. In the short term it has proposed a £150m a year fund, to help small and medium-sized firms that are at risk of bankruptcy through “sharp and unmanageable increases”.
A change.org petition challenging the rates can be found here;