With business rates set to go up again this year High Street retailers have asked the government to look at how business rates are calculated for the retail sector. With more shops every day standing empty and the current difficult economic environment another hike in rates would not help to stimulate the retail sector.
The Fair Rates for Retail Campaign is being launched today by the British Retail Consortium and Retail Week, and Ruck Retail Solutions have already pledged our support as suppliers to the retail sector.
The last two years has seen rate increases of more than £500m to the retail sector, and the expected increase next year will add a further £200m in costs for retailers. With many chains struggling with a multitude of factors in this recession such as higher priced raw materials, higher distribution and operational costs, quarterly rents and cash flow, combined with lower consumer spending, taking another hit on business rates it seems is a hard pill to swallow.
Currently 28% of business rate taxation comes from the retail sector so it's important to the treasury as a big source of revenue. However retailers are asking the government to look at the bigger picture here - the more they pay in rates the less they will have to invest in town centres that desperately need a face lift, create jobs and invest in the business. With the Government looking into ways to revitalise our flagging High Streets, surely the two campaigns must work hand in hand with each other.
Of course it hits the independent small retailers harder but with more big chains struggling this effects retailers across the board.
BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “The most important four-letter word in Westminster should be jobs but another £200m next year can only lead to more closed shops and fewer chances of work for those, including young people, who need it most.
“The Government must act on its promise to review the system. And it should recognise that retail has already more than made its contribution by freezing rates in 2013.”
To sign the petition and pledge your support please visit here: