AN MP has accused the Government of ‘fiddling whilst town centres burn’ over business rates plans.

In the House of Commons yesterday, South Lakes MP Tim Farron poured scorn over the Government’s plans for reforming business rates, saying they amounted to ‘fiddling whilst town centres burn’.

New figures from the British Retail Consortium have revealed one in 10 shops in UK town centres currently lie empty.

Speaking during a debate on the Non-Domestic Rating (Preparation for Digital Services) Bill, Mr Farron, said: “However valuable and commendable many of the proposals the minister mentions may be, does he not feel that this is somewhat like fiddling while Rome burns, or indeed while many of our town centres burn?

“There have been calls for a reduction of around 25% in high street business rates, and that could be funded by making sure that the tech giants pay their fair share of corporation tax.”