Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to cut business rates this autumn as his latest tax promise in the Tory leadership race.
Speaking at a husting in the North East town of Darlington, he said that supporting high streets would be “top of my mind” when asked by an audience member whether he would cut taxes on struggling shops.
Mr Sunak pledged to extending the current 50 per cent business rates reduction in his first Budget as Prime Minister, saying that small retailers are the “beating hearts of all our communities”.
“Particularly those businesses in the hospitality and the retail sector, those on our high streets and our town centres, that is the number one tax they talked to me about when I was chancellor,” Mr Sunak said.
“That’s why in the pandemic I did an enormous amount to help support that industry, because I know how important it is to our communities, the jobs that it provides.
“It’s why this year I cut business rates for those businesses by 50 per cent as chancellor, that’s the biggest tax cut on business rates outside of coronavirus that we’ve ever seen in this country.
“Because I know that it’s the number one thing that makes a difference this autumn in the budget we’ll do the same.”
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.