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Brexit Hit to High Street

December 7, 2019 12:47 PM
By Liberal Democrats

Brexit Hit to High Street

Almost 1 million businesses close, three years of Conservative Brexit Chaos has hit our high street.

Liberal Democrats' analysis of business performance over the last three years shows that almost one million businesses in the UK have closed. Brexit uncertainty under the Conservatives has hit our high streets.

The Liberal Democrats have marked Small Business Saturday by unveiling a set of measures to reverse this decline and boost small businesses.

978,285 businesses stopped trading between 2016-2018 according to the Office Of National Statistics. This marks an increase of almost a third (28%) compared to 765,000 businesses that closed in the previous three years.

Carlisle Scotch Street, the Lanes Carlisle (Morebyless)

No-deal Brexit would mean more harm to firms

Boris Johnson refuses to rule of no-deal Brexit. A no-deal Brexit would mean more harm to the High Street warned the Federation of Small Businesses.

Firms are also being held back by the Conservative government's failure to reform business rates, and by new taxes on the self-employed that business groups have described as "disastrous".

The Liberal Democrats would boost small businesses by:

  • Scrapping business rates and replacing them with a new land value tax on landlords
  • Reviewing taxes to help support the self-employed
  • Toughening the prompt payment code to ensure small businesses are paid on time
  • Expanding the Future High Streets Fund to support the redevelopment of more town centres and high streets.
  • Creating a new Start-Up Allowance, to support business owners with their living costs in the crucial first few weeks of starting a business
  • Reforming the apprenticeship levy by creating a wider "Skills and Training Levy" that targets 25% of the funds into areas with the greatest skills needs

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Chuka Umunna, who led the campaign to introduce Small Business Saturday in the UK, said:

"Since its launch in the UK in 2013, Small Business Saturday has been an opportunity to celebrate the hard work of independent small businesses that contribute so much to their local communities. But it's also a time to consider the challenges being faced by business owners and entrepreneurs who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

"This Conservative government has wholly failed small businesses, saddling them with years of Brexit uncertainty and ignoring urgent calls to reform business rates.

"Boris Johnson now wants to plough ahead with crashing the UK out of the EU, which would mean even more damage to businesses up and down the country.

"The Liberal Democrats will rescue our high streets by stopping Brexit, scrapping outdated business rates and introducing more support for entrepreneurs."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sam Gyimah, said:

"Each business closed represents jobs, investment and opportunities lost to our country.

"Now Boris Johnson's Conservatives want to plunge small businesses into even more uncertainty by pursuing a Brexit plan that risks yet another No Deal cliff edge in December 2020. They have lost any right to call themselves the party of business.

"Liberal Democrats are proud to be a party that supports businesses. We will stop Brexit, get back to the dealing with the issues that really matter to small businesses and build a brighter future."