The Stupidity of Business Rates…

Listening to this BBC radio piece about Red Ed and his chums (yawn) served as a reminder to post something that only occurred to me just yesterday. Why? I’m sure of only one thing, there is no excuse.

We sometimes hear the novel and innovative suggestion that employer’s national insurance should be scrapped as it is a tax on jobs. Well, no shit sherlock. But Ed’s suggestion that ‘small’ firms should pay lower business rates than ‘big’ ones (who gets to referee that particular contest by the way?) makes you wonder about the point of the rates themselves.

Apparently, this tax on the very existence of a business rakes in £26 billion a year for the treasury.

Well, let’s turn this on its head for a second and ask how many small firms are forced out of business by extortionate rates, how many additional jobs could be created, slashing the welfare budget by several billion at a stroke and how much additional tax would be raised by profit-making companies and individuals spending their money if businesses were just given the opportunity to thrive.

It might be low-hanging fruit for the state, but then look at the high streets in many towns and you expect to see the living dead rise from the ground at any given moment. I might open a book on how long it takes for a politician from one of the two major parties to make a connection.

Ed’s cynical playing off of the ‘plucky little guy’ against the ‘corporate monster’ is disingenuous bollocks, designed to impress the gallery in the pathetic theatre that modern politics has become. Labour do not, have never and will never give two shits about the self-employed and small businesspeople. You don’t need a particularly thorough grasp of history to work that out.

It’s not a case of ‘small’ or ‘big’ on this question – business rates are a tax on having the balls to go into business in the first place, and should be abolished immediately.

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