// PM candidate Rishi Sunak has pledged to slash business rates if he beats current favourite Liz Truss to the top spot at number 10
// Sunak said he was committed to extending the current 50% discount on business rates in his first budget
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has vowed to slash business rates and said that supporting high streets would be “top of my mind” should he win the race to be the next Prime Minister.
Speaking last night at a hustings in Darlington, he warned that Liz Truss’s economic plans would see the Tories get “absolutely hammered” at the next election.
Sunak said he was committed to extending the current 50% discount on business rates in his first budget.
Speaking last night Sunak said: “In the autumn we will need to set in place the business rates for the next few years and the top of my mind is always going to be supporting our high streets and town centres.
“Because they are the beating hearts of all our communities, all our market towns, all our villages, everything. They need our support.
“It’s the Conservative thing to do to make sure our communities are strong. The best way to help them is through business rates. That’s what I did as Chancellor and that’s what I’ll do as Prime Minister.”
His comments followed a call from retail business leaders to both candidates in the race to urgently address business rates which said they were “killing our high streets”.
The Retail Jobs Alliance, which consists of Tesco, Co-op, Greggs, Kingfisher, Morrisons, RivingtonHark, Sainsbury’s, and Waterstones, has called on both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss business rates.
The group said it feared “without urgent action many more shops, restaurants and pubs will struggle to keep their doors open.”
In a letter to Sunak and Liz Truss, the Retail Jobs Alliance said: “A permanent reduction in business rates for all retailers, regardless of their size, would make a big difference to retailers’ ability to invest more in shops and stores as well as to create jobs.
Foreign Secretary and current favourite to win the title of PM Liz Truss has pledged a reform of business rates along with a swathe of tax cuts, which Sunak has resisted doing.
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