Business rates freeze and free parking: FSB sets out plan to save high street businesses
A business rates freeze, better parking infrastructure and access to cash are vital elements of a thriving high street and must immediately be addressed by policy makers, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. (FSB).
As part of a new strategy to support small high street businesses in England, from retailers to coffee shops, the FSB has laid out a series of recommendations it claims would alleviate some of the pressures forcing owners out of business.
“It’s clear the pressure is mounting, ” said FSB chairman, Mike Cherry.
“Spiralling business rates and ever-increasing rents are piling on to’small retailers, hospitality businesses and others on the high street. The high cost of town centre parking, poor infrastructure, the blight of potholes and the loss of vital banking services are also ramping up the pressure.”
Read more about the current state of UK high streets:
The FSB has demanded a “freeze” on business rates from April 2019, alongside a special 1, 000 discount for high street businesses. Small businesses expanding into additional premises should not lose out on rates relief.
over the long term, a serious look is needed to overhaul the unfair, regressive business rates tax that hits firms before theyve had the chance to make their first pound of turnover, let alone profit, ” Cherry added.
as the Budget approaches, the chancellor must provide targeted support to those businesses struggling to keep their heads above water in the face of rates rises.
with transitional rate relief now winding down, it’s vital that businesses are given the right support, in the form of a rates freeze from April 2019 and a discount for local shops, pubs and eateries.
Free parking and infrastructure investment
High parking charges and lack of spaces deter shoppers from high streets, with out of town retail centres seen as a cheaper alternative.
The FSB has demanded local authorities provide more free parking to encourage shoppers back to the high street all year round.
The organisation also demanded more cash forlocal road maintenance, fairer distribution of government funding on major road network projects and improvedlocal transportroutes into town centres.
investing in the road network, fixing potholes quickly and providing more town centre free parking would make a real difference to small firms, ” Cherry said.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.