Why scrapping business rates is a bright idea

A worthwhile policy proposal amid the Labour conference dogfight? Now there’s a surprise. But shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’s scheme to freeze and eventually scrap business rates, in the meantime boosting high-street survival by raising the threshold for small business rate relief and incentivising re-use of empty premises, was the brightest moment of the Brighton event. No matter that Reeves is likely to hold her post only as long as Sir Keir Starmer holds his and that anything promised today will resemble a Dead Sea scroll by the time Labour ever returns to power. No matter also that her idea of balancing relief for bricks-and-mortar businesses with higher taxes on digital

Portrait of the week: Petrol panic, Labour’s meltdown and China’s crypto crackdown

Home The crisis of the week was a shortage of fuel at garages. ‘There is no need for people to go out and panic buy,’ said Paul Scully, the small-business minister. That set motorists queueing. BP had shut some petrol stations and blamed a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, blamed ‘one of the haulage associations’ for leaking details of a government meeting at which fuel industry people expressed concerns that fuel stocks were at two-thirds of normal levels. But Rod McKenzie, the managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, said it wasn’t him. The government suddenly said it would

Letters: The lure of lorry driving

Driving force Sir: As a long-distance UK lorry driver I am very aware of the issues raised by Rodney Pittam (‘So long, truckers’, 18 September). However the job can provide an income of more than £40,000 to those with a practical rather than an academic bent. Yes, there is unpleasantness, discomfort and a combative attitude from other road users. But there is also a high degree of independence, a chance to see this country and others, and a sense of pride in the job. Better facilities are overdue in this country for drivers, and this may go some way — together with greater remuneration — to creating more respect for