On Tuesday (October 9) Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP took a proposal from bira (British Independent Retailers Association) on reforming the business rates system for small retail businesses, to the House of Commons for an adjournment debate answered by Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General.
Bira said: ‘This vital debate for independent retailers focused on the effects that the current system is having on small independent businesses and offered bira’s proposal – for a £12,000 allowance for small businesses, instead of the current threshold – as the solution to supporting thousands of struggling retailers.’
Opening the debate, Sir Geoffrey said: “Retailers pay nearly a quarter of the collective rates bill, amounting to a staggering £7 billion a year. They pay far more than those in any other industry. The present system does not value business rates on the basis of business profitability. That unfortunately results in a system that fails to place the burden of taxation on the businesses that are most able to pay.”
Mel welcomed the opportunity to see how administration costs for Small Business Rates Relief would be reduced by going to a £12,000 allowance. Bira is already working on an impact assessment for the Government to answer some of the points raised by Mel within the debate.
Mel said: “We will continue to keep this under review in terms of making sure we keep those cost pressures through the business rates system as low as they can be, for our important high street retailers.”
Bira ceo Andrew Goodacre commented: “What was clear from this week’s debate was that we are making great progress getting the Government to listen to our proposal. We welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Mel and the Chancellor’s special advisors to show how our proposal will help all small retailers, as well as be cost-neutral to the Government. The fight for a level playing field for retail goes on but we should be extremely encouraged by this crucial topic being debated in the House of Commons.”
The adjournment debate came about following a trip by bira to speak with MPs at the Houses of Parliament on September 11.
The full debate can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/pBbnkT
or read here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-10-09/debates/E8EB1F01-09C1-4D87-B469-771FEB5EFB38/BusinessRatesSmallRetailBusinesses
Bira members are being encouraged to continue to share bira’s rates manifesto with their local MPs and share what’s happening on their high street and the effects that business rates are having on their businesses. The full manifesto can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/bira-rates-manifesto-2018 .
Bira ceo Andrew Goodacre