Lib Dems demand reform to protect High Street retailers

Responding to news that Beales Department Store may have to call in administrators, Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson, said: “This weekend we’ve seen Mothercare close its last branches, Debenhams shutting more outlets and now Beales announcing that they are at risk of collapse. Every closure will see people around the country face the bleak prospect of losing their jobs and livelihoods.  

“The internet age means shopping is changing. But that doesn’t mean we should accept seeing our High Streets hollowed out. Too many online stores rake in profit but pay little or no tax, while High Street shops are saddled with costly business rates and exorbitant rents. 

“The Government must urgently look at radical reform, or consider scrapping business rates completely. This system is not fit for purpose in 2020. With more uncertainty ahead thanks to the shadow cast by the Johnson’s Brexit agenda, Ministers must do everything possible to ensure retailers across the UK have a chance to stay in business.

“What’s more, we must find ways to tax companies operating online more effectively, to ensure a level playing field for retailers.”

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