Subway has called on the government to freeze business rates ahead of the Budget, which will be revealed by Chancellor George Osborne next Wednesday (20 March).

Trevor Haynes, area development manager UK and Ireland for the BB75 retailer, explained that many retailers were feeling the pressure of the rising costs in rents, energy bills and business rates.

He said: “With the budget approaching later this month, the retail industry is keen to see support for the high street and small and large businesses alike. One of the key things the government could do to help support retail within the UK would be to freeze business rates.

“The British Retail Consortium launched the Fair Rates for Retail campaign last September, which the Subway brand, along with its franchisees, fully supports.”

He added that businesses of all sizes needed the support to stay afloat, following the closures of national high street retailers Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops this year.

Haynes added: “For many small businesses, including our franchisees, margins are under threat due to rising costs in rents, business rates, service costs and utility tariffs. All of these are putting the squeeze on small businesses’ cash flows. Last year, an inflation-linked increase in business rates added £350m to retailers’ bills and, despite the challenging conditions on the high street, a further £175m increase is scheduled for April.

“All small businesses are working hard to navigate their way through the recession. It is the government’s responsibility to support these businesses, and freezing business rates in the upcoming budget is a good place to start.”