BRC calls for freeze on business rates

Retailers face £175 million business rates bill if next year’s increase is based on September’s RPI according to a warning from the British Retail Consortium. The Office for National Statistics has announced that that the RPI fell to 2.6% in September – down from 2.9% in August. The BRC has warned that the retail industry already pays 28% of all business rates and argues that the rates have already increased “significantly” with cumulative increases in both 2011 and 2012 amounting to more than £0.5 billion.

It is asking the government to freeze business rates in 2013, to honour its commitment to review the mechanism for setting rates increases, and to introduce a fairer, more sustainable formula for the future based on the annual average of the Consumer Price Index.

BRC director Stephen Robertson said: “The retail industry is the UK’s biggest private sector employer, providing crucial first jobs to a million 16-24 -year-olds. Expecting retailers to bear a huge rates hike for the third year running can only lead to fewer chances of work, less investment and more troubled high streets…The government must recognise that retail has already contributed its fair share to the Exchequer and freeze business rates in 2013. It also needs to reform the mechanism for setting future increases so that it is fairer and less volatile.”