17 October 2012 10:27
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that basing next year's business rates on the September Retail Price Index (RPI) figure announced yesterday would hit retailers with £175 million in extra costs, posing a "significant threat to the health of our high streets". The BRC warned that a 2.6% increase in rates in April 2013 would seriously impede retailers' ability to invest and create jobs.
Business rates have already risen dramatically in both 2011 (4.6%) and 2012 (5.6%); a cumulative increase of more than half a billion pounds.
Through its' Fair Rates for Retail' campaign, the BRC is calling on the Government to freeze business rates in 2013 in order to support jobs and growth during tough trading conditions.
British Retail Consortium Director Stephen Robertson said: "This RPI announcement reveals the scale of the potential damage to our high streets that will follow if the Government follows previous practice and translates it directly into next April's rates increase.
"The retail industry is the UK's biggest private sector employer, providing crucial first jobs to a million 16-24 -year-olds. Expecting retailers to bear a huge rates hike for the third year running can only lead to fewer chances of work, less investment and more troubled high streets.
"The Government must recognise that retail has already contributed its fair share to the Exchequer and freeze business rates in 2013. It also needs to reform the mechanism for setting future increases so that it is fairer and less volatile."