Business Secretary Vince Cable has revealed that the government is in discussion regarding an overhaul of business rates.

Speaking at a Lib Dem conference event, he said that the talks had not progressed as quickly as hoped, but that details could be released as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on December 3rd.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander added that the plans would help address an area “that may have been suitable quite a few decades ago, but where other issues have arisen since”.

At a separate Lib Dem conference event organised by The Guardian, the current business rate system was branded “no longer fit for purpose” by business leaders.

One of the key comments arising from that debate was that the high cost of UK business rates is making the country a less favourable proposition when compared with other locations offering lower rates, such as Germany and the Netherlands.

Mike Spicer, director of research at the British Chamber of Commerce, added that UK business rates were the only tax system in which a fiscal target is set before money is collected to try and meet that target. He suggested that this should be reversed, and that tax obligations should be clearly outlined before any money is collected.


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