THE Liberal Democrats have announced plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a landowner levy to ‘breathe new life’ into high streets in places like Warrington.

The party would replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, based on just the value of the land.

It says this would take the cost off businesses and help support high streets, with proposals cutting taxes for businesses by 18 per cent in Warrington.

It says by taxing landowners, rather than businesses, half a million small businesses across the country would be ‘spared the burden’ of property taxation.

Cllr Ryan Bate, the party’s Warrington South candidate, said: “Many retailers and small businesses in Warrington are under pressure from economic uncertainty, the rise of online retail and the burden of business rates.

“Yet this Conservative Government is failing to get to grips with the crisis facing our high streets. Time and again they have promised reviews of business rates but have failed to take action.

“The Liberal Democrats will shift the tax burden from tenants to landlords, so we can breathe new life back into our high streets.”

Last month, Tory Warrington South candidate Andy Carter confirmed he would be in favour of councils keeping more of their business rates partly because it puts ‘more accountability’ onto local authorities to focus on reinvestment.

Cllr Bate has also written to the Planning Casework Unit (PCU) over proposals to build a £75 million Eddie Stobart warehouse on green belt land in the south of the borough.

The firm’s revised application was approved by the council in July but the secretary of state will decide whether to call the application in or not.

It was the firm’s second application after the first was turned down, a decision which it appealed.

The public inquiry appeal was heard by a Government planning inspector in October.

But, as the wait goes on over a firm decision on the land, Cllr Bate wrote to the PCU, which manages planning decisions on behalf of the secretary of state.

He believes it makes no sense to give planning permission given the ‘continued financial uncertainties’ of the logistics giant.