Business rate ‘body-blow’ for retailers

Retailers say they are facing a significant hike in business rates next year because the government has ignored calls to move to a fairer system for calculating bills.
Anticipating the expected announcement that next April’s business rates increases will be based on last September’s 4.6% Retail Price Index inflation, the British Retail Consortium is warning that the move will lead to much higher costs than stores can afford.

It could also add inflationary pressure which is likely to feed through to prices for customers, says the BRC.

Commercial property taxes for England and Wales are currently worked out using September’s RPI, with the new charges introduced the following April. The BRC wants an alternative approach for which stores could budget more easily. Options include using the Consumer Price Index or calculating a 12-month average RPI to iron out volatility in the monthly figures.

The BRC said it was “deeply disappointing” that the government would be maintaining the status quo, claiming that “an increase on this scale will be a body-blow for many retailers”.

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