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.'

Councils vs network operators? image

Councils vs network operators?

The Electronic Communications Code reduces red tape, but in doing so it cuts the potential revenue property owners stand to make and risks pitting local authorities against operators. Zoe Wright reports.
Highways jobs

Governance and Assurance Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 to £42,683
Are you someone who is methodical in approach with an eye for detail? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Business Development Manager (Grow Yorkshire)

North Yorkshire County Council
£34,788 to £38,813 per annum
Do you have an enterprising approach to developing solutions? Are you an exceptional communicator? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Enterprise Partnership Officer (Infrastructure)

North Yorkshire County Council
£34,788 to £38,813 per annum
Are you an experienced Project Manager who is methodical in your approach with exceptional attention to detail? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Project Lead - Housing Growth

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 to £42,683
Do you have a substantial understanding of the housing market and the housing planning system? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Communications Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 to £32,029
Are you someone with excellent skills in communications and looking for your next challenge? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine