Labour ‘could tax residents to improve High Street’

A Labour government could tax residents in order to pay for High Street improvements.

This is according to the Telegraph, which has seen a report from Labour’s High Street Advisory Group. The report suggests that the remit of Business Improvement Districts could be expanded to give them the power to raise levies on residents in their areas.

Business Improvement Districts currently charge local businesses a levy to fund activities such as cleaning and extra security in their areas. There are several major BIDs in London, including the Heart of London Business Alliance, which counts as members some 500 firms in the West End.

The Telegraph reports that The High Street Advisory Group’s report recommends “diversifying the application of BIDs, including the ability to assess property owners and residents” in order to encourage new revenue streams.

BIDs currently raise a levy of between 1 and 2 per cent on businesses in their catchment, following a ballot of firms based in the area. There are exemptions for the smallest firms.

The Advisory Group’s report is not binding on the Labour Party, and it is not yet clear whether their recommendations will be incorporated into their general election manifesto.