The British Retail Consortium is calling on the Government to offer retail businesses tax cuts as the economic crisis deepens. It is asking Chancellor Alistair Darling to reconsider plans to increase business rates in April.
Business rate increases are currently based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which at 5% is at its highest rate since 1991.
Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, says: “Personal tax cuts are not the only form of ‘fiscal stimulation’ needed. The Government should revise its plans to batter retailers with a range of extra burdens which can only increase the pressure on them and ultimately push up shop prices. Government should be helping, not hindering. The Chancellor must use the Pre-Budget Report to reduce present and future costs.”
The BRC is also lobbying the Government to postpone its planned 16% increase in business rates liability as a result of the 2010 revaluation.
Robertson adds: “Business rates penalise retailers simply because they use a lot of property. The Treasury’s own analysis shows retail pays 27% of the tax but makes up only 11% of businesses. With trading conditions getting tougher, it’s vital that the burdens on hard-pressed retailers are not increased further.”