Business rates

Business rates to rise

for sale sign on a shop window
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Dominic Curran, property policy advisor at the British Retail Consortium, said that the CPI figure means that "retailers will have to cough up an extra £137m from April".

"Already, while retail accounts for 5% of the economy, it pays a massive 25% of all business rates.

"This £137m increase will reduce the ability of retailers to invest in their business, their staff and their shops.

"The chancellor must take action on rates in the forthcoming Budget and scrap ‘downwards transition’, which takes £1.3bn from retailers and uses most of it to subsidise rates in other industries.

"Meanwhile, with the retail industry facing store closures and jobs losses, the government should freeze the impending business rates increase.”

Bailiffs sent for business rate arrears

Birmingham City Council referred more businesses to bailiffs than any other local authority over the last year, an investigation has found.

Birmingham
BBC

Research by real estate adviser Altus Group has found that councils have sent bailiffs to more than 78,000 companies across England that have struggled to pay their business rates in the year to the end of March.

In Birmingham they were sent to 3,755 premises over arrears.

The Chancellor and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid faces fresh calls to deliver budget measures to ease the burden of business rates.

Business rates system 'outdated and ineffective'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

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The UK's business rates system needs a major overhaul, according to James Lowman, the chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores.

His group was one of more than 50 signatories to a letter to the chancellor, which urged him to change the rules to help the UK High Street.

He told the Today programme: "It's a really outdated system, it’s designed for a time when there only was physical retail, and people doing business from physical premises.

"That has been changing for a long time. It’s a really ineffective system – to give you an illustration, there are still people appealing their rates bills from 2010. Those appeals are very slow-moving, and that illustrates what a cumbersome system it is

"The biggest thing is the way it’s a disincentive to investment - so if you take a retail shop and you improve it, you put in things that are not just important to the business, but are probably important to that community, like CCTV, solar panels perhaps, bringing in a cash machine, that sees your business rates bills significantly increase.

"Now surely it should be the other way round. We should be encouraging and incentivising investment,rather than penalising businesses for it."

Business rates are 'divorced from the reality'

BBC Radio 5 Live

Shoppers on the High Street
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The bosses of more than 50 retailers have written to Chancellor Sajid Javid asking him to reform the "broken business rates system".

Andrew Hinds, director of F Hinds, the High Street jeweller who signed the letter, says that paying business rates had been an accepted part of doing business.

"However, within recent times it has become divorced from the reality of doing business," he tells Wake Up to Money.

He explains: "The multiplier that was set up originally to relate the rates that you pay to the cost of the rent you are paying has become higher and higher and therefore the burden has become higher.

"It has got to the point, particularly in smaller locations, where the business rates that you're expected to pay just bear no relation at all to the amount of money you could expect to make as a business."