Responding to the release of the Treasury select committee report on business rates, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, says the organisation welcomes it.
She commented: “We strongly welcome this excellent report. The Treasury Select Committee has identified key flaws in our broken business rates system. The BRC has long been calling for many of the key recommendations.
“Indeed, fixing transitional relief, introducing an improvement relief to unlock investment, and better resourcing the Valuation Office Agency, were all the focus of a letter to the Chancellor signed by over fifty retailers in August. Any party that wants to support local high streets should commit to implementing the Committee’s reforms as a first step.”
Adding: “Business rates are a significant driver of store closures and job losses and retailers have been getting a raw deal for too long. While retail accounts for 5% of the economy, it pays 25% of the business rates. Such imbalances can be seen in transitional relief – identified by the Committee as needing reform – which takes £1.3bn from retailers and redistributes most of it to other industries.
She continued: “The General Election offers a unique opportunity to address some of the imbalances that have contributed to tens of thousands of job losses for the industry. We urge political parties to support local shops, local shopworkers and local communities by including these recommendations in their manifestos.”
Concluding: “While the Committee is right to recommend that Government reviews alternatives to the broken business rates system, it must not do this in isolation. Any review must look at the whole suite of business taxation with the aim of creating a tax system that is fit for the 21st century.”