The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is calling for business rates reform in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next week.
In a submission to the Treasury, the BRC has asked for a “fundamental” change to the business rates system, so that it is fairer.
The organisation has said that the increase in business rates has meant there has been a fall in retail investment.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, has written to the Chancellor, suggesting he should indicate the need for a broader reform in business rates, to enable companies to invest more in space and employment. She said that, in turn, this would support the economic recovery.
She said: “The retail industry’s championing of the need for fundamental reform of business rates is being increasingly amplified by industries as diverse as steel and car manufacturing and some of the country’s largest property companies. This is a strong indication that the time is right to set out a roadmap to fundamentally reform the system and make it fit-for-purpose for the 21st century.
“We do not have any expectation that this could be fulfilled in advance of the general election, but an indication that it will be on the agenda for a future government will resonate very well across British business and facilitate further planning to allow business to play a fuller part in the economic recovery.”
The BRC submission also suggested there was a need to tackle what it dubs “excessive” fees charged by banks to process card payments for businesses, known as interchange fees.
It said that enabling retail investment to return to pre-recession levels would mean the equivalent of the creation of more than 40,000 jobs.