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.'

Highways jobs

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
You’ll lead a team that is growing in order to enhance and amplify our impact. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Public Health Consultant

Redbridge London Borough Council
£75,366 - £78,414
Forward thinking and ambitious Consultant in Public Health to work on an exciting portfolio including further developing our public health work. Lynton House
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Control Officer

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 7 - Starting at £29,142 per annum and rising to £32,115
We are looking for two experienced officers to support the Control Team Leader in delivering accurate subsidy claim returns and financial reconcili... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine