High taxes are pushing Fylde coast businesses to breaking point, a shadow minister has claimed following a visit to Cleveleys.
Labour shadow small business minister Toby Perkins spoke to traders on Thursday to discuss difficulties facing them.
He said VAT rises and crippling business rates, which leave Britain with the most expensive corporate property tax in Europe,could put some out of business.
He added: “Business is pretty tough in the tourism sector at the moment, partly because of moves to make everyone go on school holiday at the same time.
“The retailers I spoke to in Cleveleys say their rents are going down, yet business rates bills have gone up – and that is causing real issues.
“Some are close to having to close their doors.”
He said staggering school holidays would help ease the pressure on the tourism industry, while efforts to bring down the tax bill are needed to help small businesses stay competitive.
He added: “There is certainly an argument for cutting VAT for the tourism sector.
“Sam Rushworth (Labour parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys) has been bending my ear about making that case and that will be considered alongside all the other tax priorities.”
He also warned that part of the problem is visitors to the Fylde coast are not spending as much as in previous years.
He said: “One of the things that came across really strongly was that there is an issue in terms of reducing the cost of doing business but there is also a real issue in that the cost of living crisis means people don’t have as much money in their pockets.”