Business rates reform should be top priority, says BRC

The British Retail Consortium has called on the government to make reforming business rates a top priority.

It is believed that businesses could be faced with a 60% rate of tax by 2022 unless major alterations are made to the current business rates system.

A spokesperson for the BRC said: “The current burden of business rates is too high and its expected growth trajectory is completely unsustainable. There is a real danger that business rates will materially harm the viability of new development in many parts of the country.”

The previous coalition government promised the biggest business rates review in a generation, but retailers have become frustrated with the lack of clarity given by the new Conservative government.

A review of the system is set to be completed next March and reform was promised in the Conservative manifesto by 2017, but the BRC believes changes are more urgent than what is being proposed.

“Business rates have grown in recent years and remain dislocated to wider economic performance or the ability to pay” says the BRC statement.

“There is an urgent need for the government to set out the review’s remaining milestones. This should include short-term relief measures for retailers of all shapes and sizes. It should be a top priority for the government.”

Retailers are looking for the government to provide a clear outline for the future of business taxation and a decision over whether tax is based on property or not. Some believe that business rates should be judged on sales, ensuring that online retailers are paying their fair share.

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