Opinion: If Flybe deserves a break, why doesn’t retail?

Flybe plane

As it emerged that regional airline Flybe was in trouble, ministers scrambled into action to keep the business flying.

No fewer than three members of the Cabinet – chancellor Sajid Javid, transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Andrea Leadsom – combined to put together a rescue deal understood to include the deferral of tax payments worth around £100m and a review of air passenger duties on domestic flights.

Retailers would be forgiven for reacting with bemusement and anger to the rapid response to Flybe’s woes. Aid was provided, PDQ.

If only the same energy and focus was devoted to one of their own tax burdens, business rates, which is a structural challenge rather than a one-off problem affecting a single company.

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