High Streets Initiative · 20 November 2017

Retail leaders call for “shoppers? Budget” to save high street businesses

Business rates changes
UK retailers are predicted to face business rates increases of 270m
British retail’s most influential leaders have calledon the chancellor to deliver a ‘shoppers? Budget? this week tohelp safeguard the future ofhigh street businesses, demanding decisive action onbusiness rates and living costs.

Ahead of Wednesday 22 November’s Autumn Budget, CEOs from B&Q, Holland & Barrett and Carpetright led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have urged chancellor Philip Hammond to soften the property tax burden for retailers by freezing business rates from 2018, with further recommendations aimed at boosting the spending power of consumers.

When new business rates are applied in April 2018, retailers alone face a £270m increase in bills. Retail leaders have previously argued that lower business rates would allow retailers to keep prices low for consumers and to invest in their workforce.

Now, the BRC’s Budget submission to the chancellor has requested heavy action to alleviate this burden for small UK retailers. The organisation called for a freeze on April 2018 rates, an earlier switch to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and to set a revaluation date every three years from 2020.

A shoppers? budget would also require the chancellor to freeze income tax rates for the vast majority of taxpayers, and to consider accelerating already planned increases in the personal allowance.

Leading the call for a shoppers? Budget, BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said Hammond had an opportunity to reduce costs for local business owners and help high streets prosper.

there are few better yardsticks for Wednesday’s budget than the daily realities of local communities, shops and jobs, she said.



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