The British Retail Consortium has hit out at the Government for failing to protect retailers from extra costs being piled onto the industry following a report suggesting that business rates will increase by 16 per cent from April 2010.

The report, published today by G L Hearn and Investment Property Databank, forecasts that the rise will be well above increases in other sectors, including office occupiers and industrial occupiers, which it says will see an increase of 3.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “This research provides worrying evidence that retailers, already suffering the economic slowdown and increases in property costs, have worse to come. The Government should accept it can best help customers by enabling retailers to keep prices down.

“With rents dropping since the April 2008 valuation date, it must look again at the basis of this revaluation. It must also reintroduce empty property rate relief and consider its plans for business rate supplements.”

The updated business rate figure will be based on rental values from April 1 this year, which the BRC says creates an unfair picture of market conditions because rents have fallen since then.

Retailers will be simultaneously hit by changes to the business rates supplement regulations, which are also due to come into effect in April 2010 and will give local authorities the power to charge an extra 2p per pound of rateable value.