Martin Vander Weyer Martin Vander Weyer

Finally, a business rates reform! If only I knew what it meant

Plus: George Osborne's cunning pension plan; and the delightful Denis Healey

This column has repeatedly cried that something must be done about business rates. Yes, it’s fair to ask businesses, as well as individual citizens, to contribute to local public-sector provision — even though businesses can’t vote. But it was far from fair during the recession to go on collecting £26 billion a year from hard-pressed firms based on an arbitrary multiplier applied to out-of-date rental valuations, in many cases long after those values had slumped to the point at which the rates were a higher cost than the rents.

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