Greggs and Pret among 50 firms urging rates shake-up

High street retailers, including Greggs, Pret A Manger and Morrisons, are urging the government to fix the “broken” business rates system.

Fifty companies and trade groups have signed a letter to chancellor Sajid Javid, pointing out that retailers account for 5% of the economy but pay 25% of all business rates.

They urge Javid to introduce four “fixes” they say would address many of the challenges posed by business rates:

  • A freeze in the business rates multiplier
  • Fixing transitional relief, which currently forces many retailers to pay more than they should
  • Introducing an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayers
  • Ensuring that the Valuation Office Agency is fully resourced to do its job.

The letter claimed the changes could be undertaken quickly, would reduce regional disparities, remove barriers to the proper working of market forces, incentivise economic investment, and cut some of the bureaucracy of the current system.

“These four fixes would be an important step to reform the broken business rates system, which holds back investment, threatens jobs and harms our high streets,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, which coordinated the letter.

“The fact that over 50 retail CEOs have come together on this issue should send a powerful message to government.”

The letter has been signed by:

  • Ann Summers
  • Asda
  • B&Q
  • BIRA
  • Booksellers’ Association
  • Boots UK
  • British Retail Consortium
  • Card Factory
  • Carpetright
  • Central England Co-operative
  • Company Shop Group
  • Costcutter
  • Debenhams
  • Deichmann Shoes
  • DFS
  • Dixons Carphone
  • Dreams
  • F Hinds
  • Fenwick
  • Greggs
  • Harrods
  • Henderson Group
  • Iceland
  • John Lewis Partnership
  • Marks & Spencer
  • McKesson UK
  • New Look
  • Pret A Manger
  • Primark
  • Retra
  • Rigby & Peller
  • River Island
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Savers Health Home & Beauty
  • Scottish Midland Co-operative Society
  • Screwfix
  • Spar UK
  • Specsavers
  • Steinhoff UK
  • Superdrug Stores
  • The Association of Convenience Stores
  • The Body Shop International
  • The Co-operative Group
  • The Hamleys Group
  • The Original Factory Shop
  • The Paint Shed
  • The Perfume Shop
  • Whittard of Chelsea
  • WH Smith
  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
  • Well Pharmacy

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