British Retail Consortium hits out at ‘mad’ business rates system
Retail is in the midst of a transformation powered by new technologies and changing consumer behaviour. But, according to the BRC, the investment needed for this reinvention is being held back by a rising tide of public policy costs, with business rates the biggest among these.
In a submission made to the Treasury Select Committee today, the BRC sets out a framework to “fix the broken business tax system under the principles of Relief, Review and Reform”. It is calling for a number of changes to be made, culminating in an Independent Review of Business Taxation that must look at how various business taxes should be levied to ensure that the tax framework is fit for the 21st century.
“Retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business taxes and a staggering 25% of business rates. This is simply not sustainable; the raft of shop closures and job losses are testament to that,” says Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at the BRC.
“While Government fiddles at the edges, retail suffers and consumers pay the price. The Treasury Select Committee Inquiry comes at a critical moment for the retail industry. If the Committee can seize the opportunity to find a way to address the madness of a system which is strangling our High Streets, they can protect shops and jobs and put British retail on the right trajectory for the future.”