15 October 2012 10:57
September's retail price index is expected to have seen an increase of 2.7% in the last year when figures are released this week. This rate is likely to be used as the level to set business rates in April 2013 if the Chancellor decides to keep increases at their maximum in his Autumn Statement on 5th December. This could lead to a 13.4% rise in business rates over the next 3 years from April 2013.
Such speculation could make nervous reading for shop owners who are already struggling to meet their financial obligations in the current financial climate. Rates continue to be a source of burden for the High Street and retailers are starting to speak out for more support from the Government. Marks & Spencer Chief Executive Marc Bolland said "The High Street is the British way of life, but it needs to be more strongly supported on a central level" only last week.
The Chancellor can of course use his discretion to hold rates rather than increase them by September's RPI figures on 5th December.