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Lib Dems pledge to 'reform business rates' and 'bring down trade barriers' as part of election manifesto

Sophie Smith
11 June 2024

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to replace the business rates system with a "commercial landowner levy" as part of their election manifesto ahead of the general election on 4 July.

In the party’s manifesto, under the section called 'A fair deal on the economy', the Liberal Democrats said: "We will support entrepreneurs, back small businesses and reform business rates."

"We will empower people and support businesses to thrive by encouraging investment and boosting productivity.

The party said it would achieve this by introducing a commercial landowner levy to "reduce the financial burden on high street business and encourage investment in local retail areas".

"The Conservative Government has failed businesses and workers. Growth is minimal, productivity is slipping, and constant U-turns have badly damaged business confidence," the manifesto reads.

"Unfair tax hikes have further dented our prosperity, and our town centres and high streets are crying out for a fair business rates system. We will work in partnership with business to offer stability and ensure that we maximise the opportunities for investment, growth and employment across the country."

The manifesto also reveals plans to support the UK economy by creating a "stable business environment with smart regulation and investing in skills, infrastructure, research and innovation". In return, the Liberal Democrats - led by Ed Davey-  expect businesses to commit to promoting skills, equality and good governance, and to supporting their local communities.

In addition, the party said it would unlock British businesses’ global potential by "bringing down trade barriers and building stronger future relationships with our closest trading partners", including by fixing the UK's "broken relationship" with Europe.

It also added that the Liberal Democrats would establish an independent review to "recommend a genuine living wage across all sectors with government departments and all public sector employers taking a leading role in paying it", amongst other policies.

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