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Labour Party Conference 2021: Party pledges to scrap business rates and close tax relief schemes

The Labour Party has promised to scrap business rates if they win power

Labour has said it would scrap business rates and close a number of tax relief schemes which the party contends do not benefit the public or the economy.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is set to announce that a Labour government would immediately cut the business tax, before eventually phasing it out completely.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Reeves will tell Labour’s conference in Brighton that the current business rates system punishes investment, entrepreneurship and the high street

- She will also announce that the party will reform tax reliefs and drop those which do not benefit the taxpayer or the economy

- Labour’s business tax reform would look to shift the burden from the high street to online giants, and end the tax relief afforded to private schools due to their charitable status

- The party would also aim to raise £440 million by closing the carried interest loophole which relates to private equity fund managers and the share of profits made by investment deals

- The changes were welcomed by business groups with Tony Danker, CBI director-general, saying: “Change to this outdated system is chronically overdue.”

What’s been said

Rachel Reeves will say: “Our high street businesses do so much to enrich our lives and our communities, facing huge adversity in the past year. They are struggling right now, with a cliff edge in rates relief coming up in March.

“The next Labour government will scrap business rates.

“We will carry out the biggest overhaul of business taxation in a generation, so our businesses can lead the pack, not watch opportunities go elsewhere.”

Background

Labour has returned to Brighton for their in-person 2021 conference from Saturday 25 to Wednesday 29 September.

This will be Keir Starmer's first conference as party Leader.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner delivers a speech on stage during the opening day of the annual Labour Party conference in Brighton (image: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

It comes as Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner refused to apologise for describing senior Tories as “scum” as Sir Keir Starmer distanced himself from her comments on September 26.

Rayner’s attack, delivered at a reception for activists at the Labour Party conference, has outraged members of the Government, with one minister accusing her of “talking crap”.

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