Labour manifesto promises to replace business rates system and crack down on retail crime

Labour has unveiled its 2024 manifesto containing ‘five nation missions’ to “restore hope” and “rebuild our country”. These include delivering economic stability with tough spending rules to grow the economy, setting up a publicly owned clean power company to cut energy bills and cracking down on antisocial behaviour such as retail crime.  

Within the 132-page document, the party has included its promise to reform the business rates system: “The current business rates system disincentivises investment, creates uncertainty and places an undue burden on our high streets,” it reads. “In England, Labour will replace the business rates system, so we can raise the same revenue but in a fairer way. This new system will level the playing field between the high street and online giants, better incentivise investment, tackle empty properties and support entrepreneurship.”

On retail crime, meanwhile, the manifesto pledges to crack down on antisocial behaviour: “Labour will scrap the effective immunity for some shoplifting introduced by the Conservatives and create a new specific offence for assaults on shopworkers that will protect them from threats and violence” it reads.

However, the manifesto does rule out a return to single market trade with the EU. “With Labour, Britain will stay outside of the EU,” it says. “But to seize the opportunities ahead, we must make Brexit work. We will reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties with our European friends, neighbours and allies. That does not mean reopening the divisions of the past. There will be no return to the single market, the customs union, or freedom of movement.”

Read the full manifesto here.