MP Tim Farron has met with Chancellor Philip Hammond to make the case for tax breaks for businesses on Cumbria’s high streets.

The Government is currently proposing to introduce a digital services tax of two per cent for online companies, which would go towards a cut of a third on business rates for small firms.

It is asking for people's views on its plans, which would come into force in 2020.

But the Liberal Democrat MP, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale, told the Chancellor that the plans, which would raise £400 million, did not go far enough.

Mr Farron said a larger tax should be levied so rates for small businesses could be halved and give struggling high street chains a reduction.

He said: “I had a very constructive meeting with the Chancellor where I made clear that extortionate business rates was the biggest hurdle that local firms faces.

“The reality of where we are now is mega online companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook pay very little tax, if any at all, and yet businesses in places like Kendal, Ambleside, Windermere, and Milnthorpe are paying through their noses in business rates.

He said Mr Hammond conceded that the two per cent rise was a proposed figure and could be increased, if responses to its consultation warranted it.

Mr Farron is encouraging local businesses to take part in the consultation and to call for the tax to be increased for the big online retailers to fund a tax break for the high street.

He added: “I pressed the Chancellor to push those companies to pay their fair share with the money going towards halving rates for our local hard-working businesses on our high streets.

“The good thing is the Chancellor indicated that we could lobby for more tax to be raised than the paltry two per cent the Government currently wants.

“I’d encourage local businesses to take part in the consultation to ask for a much higher rate of tax for mega online companies so we can raise enough money to invest in our high streets, protect them and save them.”

The consultation ends on February 28. To take part, click here.