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BRC hails commitment to review UK business rates system

Nov '19
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent speech at the Confederation of British Industry, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed his commitment to review the broken UK business rates system that is holding back investment and accelerating job losses and store closures. However, in the shorter term, additional fixes are necessary, it said.

“The offer to cut business rates for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is welcome, but will not slow the decline in high streets that has seen many household names disappear in recent years. The Conservatives should commit to supporting investment and growth in retailers large and small, particularly as the majority of the UK's 3 million retail workers are employed in businesses that will not benefit from the Conservatives’ proposed rates cuts,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said in a statement.

“Proposed cuts to National Insurance contributions will be welcomed as part of the need to bring down the business tax burden which sees retailers pay 10 per cent of all business taxes, and 25 per cent of business rates, despite account for 5 per cent of the economy. The next government should reduce the tax burden further, through business rates reforms including scrapping ‘downwards transition’, which costs retailers £1.3 billion; freezes next year’s rates increase; and introduces an improvement relief to encourage investment in our high streets,” he said.

Violence against shopworkers remains one of the most pressing issues retailers face and the next government must take action to stamp it out, he said.

“We welcome the commitment to end the Brexit uncertainty at the earliest opportunity. However, it is essential that politicians commit to a future of frictionless, tariff-free trade to protect consumers from negative impacts on costs and availability of everyday essentials,” he added.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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