The British Retail Consortium has praised the BIS Select Committee for highlighting Business Rates as the ‘most crucial deterrent’ to High Street investment and ‘the most debilitating levy on existing businesses’.
In the report of the committee’s inquiry into the Retail Sector a number of recommendations are made for Government action however the report most heavily criticises the current rates system.
BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, who gave evidence to the inquiry said, “This report must be the final nail in the coffin of the question: ‘do business rates need to be reformed?’ They do. Business thinks so. A committee of Parliament thinks so. We very much hope the Government will think so too.
“That’s why the BRC has started the work of identifying what a new system, fit for the 21st Century, might look like. We’ve been having wide, open conversations with retailers of all sizes, trying to identify what changes need to be made to encourage investment, promote job creation, support small business and support sustainable, long term growth.
“Last month we published Road to Reform which puts on the table some possible ideas for long term change. These aren’t final. Our research partners, EY, are doing some economic modelling to help us understand what effect each of the ideas will have on the whole of the retail industry.
But we wanted to make sure that as many people as possible were involved in the conversation about the future of business rates – everyone with an interest has had, and will continue to have, the opportunity to comment on the proposals as they are developed.
“We’ll be publishing the next stage of our research in May. Until then, the committee’s report brings very welcome renewed focus on the need for change. The whole retail industry will be waiting with baited breath to see how the Government responds.”