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How to set up your firm’s systems to provide the information that enables you to improve profitability and cashflow

How to avoid professional negligence claims, with examples of common problems and suggested solutions. Plus FAQs on PII

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How to protect your law firm from cyber attacks. What steps to take if your systems are hacked

In marketing, like anything, you need to get the basics right. Otherwise the time and money you invest in marketing will be wasted

How to win new clients, make the most of existing relationships, encourage referrals and generate new leads

How to approach creating a law firm website that works, from agreeing your objectives to making sure you get the results you want

Why lawyers need to know about social media, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid potential pitfalls

How to use PR to build your firm’s reputation; and how to create cost-effective advertising – traditional and online – that delivers results

CBI calls for urgent action on business rates

12 February 2016

CBI calls for urgent action on business ratesThe current system of business rates is outdated and is undermining British high streets and manufacturers, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI is calling on the Government to put reform of business rates at the top of its business agenda at Budget 2016. Business rates, it says, are based on "a decades-old model, unresponsive to changes in economic conditions and an increasing tax burden on firms".

In the past seven years, tax revenue growth from business rates has far outpaced other taxes (up 28%).

The current system is also making investment in commercial property unattractive says the CBI, which results in "sub-standard premises and a drag on productivity". It means there are strong incentives to convert commercial property into residential - up 80% in 2014/15 alone.

The CBI is calling on the Government to make the system:

  • Simpler, by removing businesses with a "rateable" property value of less than £12,000 from the system altogether;
  • Fairer, by carrying out more frequent valuations of "rateable" property values; and
  • More competitive, by changing the index for annual increases in business rates from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI economics director, said: "The current business rates system is from another era and proving an ever-increasing problem for firms, hitting our high streets and manufacturers across the country. And devolving business rates does not tackle the significant problems that this distortive tax is causing for businesses."

In October 2015, George Osborne introduced plans to devolve the setting, collection and spending of business rates to local authorities. The proposals were welcomed by the Institute of Directors (IoD) however a survey of IoD members found that more than half were concerned that devolution would lead to higher taxes.

Newton-Smith said he wants to see the Government taking action at the forthcoming Budget on 16 March. He said: "Business wants to see the smallest firms completely removed from the system, more frequent valuations and ensure the system is tied to the Consumer Price Index to make it fairer and more competitive."

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