Business rates ‘could be changed’ to help high street retailers

Business Secretary Greg Clark has suggested that business rates ‘could be changed’ in order to help high street retailers in the UK.

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Experts have stated that rising business rates, increasing staff costs and the rise in popularity of online shopping have created a so-called ‘perfect storm’ for UK retailers.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference, Mr Clark said that the Treasury is carrying out a review of business rates, and that he believes that high street retailers ‘make a big contribution to the community, and to villages, towns and cities’.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), welcomed Mr Clark’s statements, saying: ‘Competition from online retailers has left many high street firms struggling and confidence among small businesses in our high streets is falling. Without action on business rates, we will continue to see high street retailers forced to close.’

Business rates now rise by the CPI, rather than the RPI. This change was announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond. In addition, business rates revaluations are set to take place every three years, rather than every five, starting after the next revaluation, currently due in 2021.

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