Retailers unite in call for business rates solution

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Some of the UK’s biggest retailers have come together to demand action is taken to revamp the business rates system.

Business leaders from more than 50 companies wrote to chancellor Sajid Javid to ask for four changes.

These include reforming transitional relief, which limits how much a bill can change following revalution.

The letter also called for a freeze in the business rate multiplier, the introduction of a new improvement relief, and for the Valuation Office Agency to be adequately funded.

It said that these four recommendations “could be undertaken quickly, would reduce regional disparities, remove barriers to the proper working of market forces, incentivise economic investment, and cut away at bureaucracy”.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium chief executive, 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.

“Retail accounts for 5% of the economy yet pays 25% of all business rates – this disparity is damaging our high streets.”

James Lowman, chief executive at the Association of Convenience Stores, added:

“The Government’s first priority should be extending rate relief for more businesses and for beyond the next financial year.”

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