William Eichler 13 August 2019

High street retailers call for reform of ‘broken’ business rates

High street retailers call for reform of ‘broken’ business rates image

Over 50 high street retailers have signed a letter calling on Chancellor Sajid Javid to reform the business rates system.

Coordinated by the British Retail Consortium, the letter urges the Chancellor to freeze the business rates multiplier and ‘fix’ transitional relief, which they argue forces many retailers to pay more than they should.

The BRC letter, which was signed by CEOs of supermarkets, food-to-go, fashion, homeware, and department store retailers, also called for the introduction of an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayers.

It also said the Valuation Office Agency, the Government body responsible for giving the Treasury the valuations and property advice needed to support taxation and benefits, is fully resourced to do its job.

Implementation of these four recommendations, the letter argues, ‘could be undertaken quickly, would reduce regional disparities, remove barriers to the proper working of market forces, incentivise economic investment, and cut away at least some of the bureaucracy of the current system.’

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, pointed out that retail accounts for 5% of the economy yet pays 25% of all business rates – a disparity that is ‘damaging our high streets and harming the communities they support.’

‘These four fixes would be an important step to reform the broken business rates system which holds back investment, threatens jobs and harms our high streets,’ she said.

‘The new Government has an opportunity to unlock the full potential of retail in the UK, and the Prime Minister’s economic package provides a means to do so.’

A Government spokesperson said: 'Last month, the Prime Minister announced a £3.6bn Towns Fund to support our high streets and town centres, allowing them to attract greater footfall, jobs and investment.

'The Chancellor will announce further details of the Government’s policy programme in the coming weeks and months.'

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Flood Risk Officer

Lancashire County Council
£42,683-£46,566
We have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Floor Risk Officer Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Duke of Edinburgh Youth Support Worker

Essex County Council
£14597.0 - £19106.0 per month
Please note this is a part time contract - annualised hours 106 per year. Therefore the actual salary range is from £995.44 up to £1049.79 per annum. England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Internal Audit

Kent County Council
Up to £97,000 + benefits
We now have an exciting opportunity to strengthen and shape our Audit function, as... Maidstone, Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Director of Children’s Services

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
circa £120,000
This is an exceptional opportunity for someone who wants to make a real difference to the children, young people and families of our Borough. St Helens, Merseyside
Recuriter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Assistant Director, Social Care & Public Health Commissioning

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
c£71,000 to £89,000 per annum
Reporting to the Director of Strategic Commissioning you will lead Commissioning in the context of a developing Integrated Care System.  Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue