Monday, 3 October 2011

Osborne Must Hold Back Business Rates As Well As Council Tax - BRC

The Council Tax freeze announced today (Monday) by Chancellor George Osborne is welcome news for retailers because it will keep money in customers' pockets. But if this really is to be "The most pro-growth Government in history" it must also limit next year's business rates bills.

Under current rules, this September's RPI inflation figure will determine next April's Business Rates rise in England. That could easily top five per cent even though the BRC's most recent figures show the volume of sales and retail employment actually falling.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: "The Council Tax freeze will make a useful contribution to easing the pressure on household budgets, leaving customers' with more money to spend on the things they need and want.

"But if the Government really believes in generating growth, it will limit the burden for businesses too. Under the current rules, businesses are likely to be hit be a destructive five per cent increase in business rates next April on top of a similar increase imposed this year.

"These extra costs can only undermine retailers' ability to invest and create jobs. The Government should abandon the rates-roulette of basing each year's Rates increase on the previous September's RPI. We need a system that produces Business Rates changes that are more certain and, above all, more affordable." 

Image by Fin Fahey

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