Four in five shops to shut without business rates reform, says BRC

Some 83% of retailers would reportedly be forced to close shops without the introduction of a business rates reform as a part of the Government’s upcoming review.

According to research conducted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), 85% of those retailers surveyed recognised business rates as either an “extremely” or “very important” issue for their businesses when deciding to open or close shops.

The industry body’s report said that retailers pay an approximate total of £8bn throughout the UK due to the current 25% business rates level.

This has in turn translated to business rates having an impact on two-thirds of store closures in the past two years, with one in four retailers stating that they paid more in business rates than in rents.

As a part of the report, which comes ahead of the Government’s upcoming business rates review, the BRC recommended cutting the rates multiplier to 35% from its current 51.2%.

The organisation also called upon the Government to fix the system of transitional relief, introduce an “improvement relief” to ensure rates do not rise after investment in a property, and reform the Valuation Office Agency to enforce accurate valuations and faster appeals processing.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “This report underscores the urgency of fixing the broken business rates system, which currently holds back new jobs and investment. 

“With one in seven shops currently shuttered, it is essential that action is taken, or else it will be our local communities and high streets which suffer the consequences.”

She added: “The Government needs to bring the burden down and take action to ensure that the system reflects property market values more quickly.”

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