The government should abandon plans to hit the ports industry with sharp rises in business rates, according to the British International Freight Association, or face seriously damaging the industry at a time when international trade is vital to UK economic recovery, reiterating what Conservative leader David Cameron said.
Peter Quantrill, director general of BIFA, said: “While we are a non-political trade body, we will always support comments made by individual politicians that show support for our members and the UK forwarding industry in general.
“On a visit to Birkenhead, itself a bastion of the British maritime industry, Mr Cameron took the opportunity to call on Westminster to abandon plans to hit the port industry with retrospective rises in business rates that could deliver a £124 million tax blow in the middle of this recession. We completely support his call, both for the benefit of BIFA members and UK plc in general.”
The Valuation Office Agency is levying retrospective rates increases backdated to 2005 on firms operating in ports across England and Wales.
Mr Quantrill added: “Cameron met with affected firms that, like many BIFA members, will have to pay heavily for this disastrous tax change. He described it as an inept policy that will lead to thousands of jobs being lost and called on Brown to rescind it.
“We agree that the government must use the Finance Bill or the Business Rates Supplements Bill currently before parliament to stop this iniquitous tax imposition that can only harm our country at a time when it is looking for a way out of this economic downturn.”