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Business rates have been highlighted as being a contributing factor to the tough retail landscape at the moment and more than 50 high street retailers have united to demand action is taken to fix the business rates system. The letter to Chancellor Sajid Javid, co-ordinated by the BRC, asks the government to implement four fixes that would help the industry, including a freeze in the business rates multiplier and introducing an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayers. It’s been signed by the heads of major retailers including ASDA, Marks & Spencer and Iceland. The industry accounts for 5% of the UK economy, but is burdened with 10% of all business taxes, and 25% of business rates.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “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. 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. The fact that over fifty retail CEOs have come together on this issue should send a powerful message to Government. Retail accounts for 5% of the economy yet pays 25% of all business rates – this disparity is damaging our high streets and harming the communities they support.”
Richard Walker, joint managing director, Iceland Foods, also commented, “Business rates are an outdated Victorian taxation system that have little relevance to our modern multi-channel retail economy. Fundamental reform of the system is the only way we will stem the decline of high street communities up and down the country.”
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