A campaign to achieve Fair Rates for Retail has been jointly launched today (28 September) by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), and retail industry magazine Retail Week.
It comes in response to two huge increases in business rates costs, which have added more than £0.5bn over the past two years, according to the BRC.
Currently the annual increase in business rates, in April, is based on the previous September’s Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation figure. In April 2012, business rates went up 5.6%.
RPI is currently 2.9%, said the BRC, with the September 2012 figure due to be announced on 16 October. The lobby group has claimed that an increase in business rates on that scale, next April, would add another £200m to retailers’ costs.
Stephen Robertson, director general, BRC, said: “Business rates are inequitable, they fall disproportionately harshly on the retail sector, because we use lots of property and need that property to be where customers are.
“And rates have gone up dramatically over the last couple of years as sales have stagnated. Retailers have been big losers in the lottery that turns September’s RPI into the following April’s rates rise.”
He continued: “The most important four-letter word in Westminster should be jobs, but another £200m next year can only lead to more closed shops and fewer chances of work for those, including young people, who need them most.”
The Fair Rates for Retail campaign is also calling for a fundamental change to the way rates are determined to achieve greater long-term affordability and certainty.
The add your name to the petition, go to https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-government-freeze-business-rates-at-current-level-and-change-how-rates-are-determined