Esther McVey has re-iterated her plea for Government to overhaul how business rates are calculated to ensure a level playing field for shops on the high street.
The Tatton Esther McVey said action was needed to change the archaic way rates are calculated to tackle the fact bricks and mortar businesses pay vast sums compared to online retailers.
Speaking in Parliament she urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to act to protect all businesses.
Ms McVey said: “There is currently huge inequality between the taxation of businesses online and those of bricks and mortar. Can I thank the Chancellor for the support he has given through business rate relief to the high street during the pandemic, but can I ask, as I know the Chancellor believes in low taxes, when will business rates be modernised, so we can get an even playing field for online offline and high street businesses?”
Ms McVey wants a fairer system where online retailers, with often much smaller property costs, pay their fair share of business rates. The change would also mean more support for those with a High Street presence so that their rates bill better reflects their turnover, rather than a specific rateable value because they are on the High Street
Mr Sunak said: “She (Esther) has rightly campaigned on this issue and raises an excellent point. On the point of online and offline, she will know we have helped with an international tax treaty to tax large multinational digital companies and we continue to consult on the pros and cons of an online sales tax.”
Mr Sunak also said next year 90 per cent of hospitality and leisure business will see at least a 50 per cent cut in business rates as announced in last month’s Budget.
Business rates are calculated by rental value of the property meaning bricks and mortar businesses in prime locations like the high street often have astronomically higher rent than online businesses who can manage stock from hold warehouses out of town or in the cheapest locations they can find. Revaluations take place every five years.