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Lib Dems Supporting Southampton's Ports

April 12, 2010 9:00 PM
Catherine Bearder MEP and David Goodall by Southampton Docks

Catherine Bearder MEP and David Goodall by Southampton Docks

The Liberal Democrats have said they will scrap the Labour Government's crippling £3.6 million back-dated business rates tax on businesses based at Southampton's ports if elected.

The back-dated tax totals £3,610,788.12, and dates back to 2005. At present, this would have to be paid on top of any tax that has already been paid by these businesses.

More than 11,000 people in Southampton make their living from the city's docks.

As described on the Daily Echo website, 'Up to 2009, in each of the 55 statutory ports in England and Wales, one combined business rate bill was paid by each port operator on behalf of all the firms within it. However, following a review initiated in May 2006, the Government's tax inspectors, the Valuation Office Agency, decided that each firm is now a "separate occupation" and must each pay an individual business rate bill.'

David Goodall, Liberal Democrat candidate for Southampton Itchen, said:

"The Liberal Democrats have fair taxation at the heart of our tax policies. So we would scrap these backdated business rates charged to port-based companies so that they are not unfairly penalised by the Government's mistakes. This is a fairer tax policy would save valuable jobs and businesses in Southampton"

"The Lib Dem plan would see the backdated business rate bills waived to port occupiers relating to periods before April 2008. This is on the basis that backdated rates bills began to be issued from September 2008 and therefore it is fair to expect port occupiers to settle business rates for the 2008-09 year and subsequent years, but it is not reasonable to backdate bills before this date when port occupiers could not reasonably have anticipated the massive increases in rates bills."

Lib Dems in other port cities have also been fighting these proposals and campaigning against these backdated bills a couple of examples see:-

http://www.denishealy.org.uk/campaign-item.aspx?action=view&petition=21

http://stevebeasant.blogspot.com/2010/03/lib-dems-will-waive-backdated-port.html