The shadow business secretary has criticised the government's handling of business rates, branding the changes set to take effect in April "a ticking time bomb", ahead of a Labour emergency roundtable due to take place today (Monday 27th February).
Rebecca Long-Bailey said the government had "mishandled" the whole process and said "it can't be right" for a system to impose massive hikes on town centre retailers but not "the likes of Amazon".
The comments follow on from warnings by the Booksellers Association (BA) to government that the April changes will leave many booksellers' businesses “absolutely crippled” and condemnation from Waterstones' James Daunt that this is an “injustice” against physical bookshops.
A spokesperson for government told the BBC a transitional fund of £3.6bn for worst affected businesses would ensure all business get "a fair deal".
However, Long-Bailey said: “From delaying the revaluation to their failure to put adequate transitional arrangements in place, the Government have mishandled this whole process, and should provide immediate emergency relief to stop thousands of businesses going under.
"But the reality is that business rates are a ticking time bomb. It cannot be right for smaller, town centre retailers to be facing massive hikes while the Amazons and ASOS’s of this world have their business rates cut.”
Today (27th April) a roundtable on business rates takes place between Long-Bailey, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow communities secretary Teresa Pearce and business organisations including the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chamber of Commerce.