The Liberal Democrats have urged the Chancellor to “come out of hiding” and support high street businesses struggling with the impact of the new Omicron variant.
The party is calling for an urgent £4.5 billion package of tax cuts for local businesses to help ailing high streets across the UK survive the winter.
This package would see the reinstatement of the emergency 5% rate of VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attractions and 100% business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
These changes would offer a vital lifeline to over 800,000 businesses, who are looking ahead to another bleak winter – with increasing Covid restrictions hampering their ability to operate and trade normally.
The Government has so far refused to offer any additional support for businesses despite the impact of Plan B and the new Omicron variant.
Commenting Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said: “Our high street businesses have worked hard and played by the rules for the past two years, only for the Conservatives to abandon them in their hour of need.
“Local high streets need urgent help to save them from endless Christmas cancellations and a drop off in footfall as Omicron threatens their livelihoods.
“That is why we must slash taxes on the high street to keep them alive through winter.
“Rishi Sunak has refused to offer high streets a scrap of support despite the official advice telling us all to work from home and be more cautious. The Chancellor must come out of hiding and offer our treasured shops, bars and restaurants the help they need.
“The Lib Dems are on the side of local businesses and our high streets. Our plan would cut their taxes and we will continue to fight to get them the support they need