The British Retail Consortium has claimed victories this week in the fights against spiralling business rates and trade credit insurance woes.

In a debate on Monday in the House of Lords, legislation excluding businesses from the right to vote on whether local authorities can introduce business rates supplements (BRS) was rejected.

The Lords voted in favour of an amendment to the BRS bill requiring all supplementary rate introductions to be approved by affected businesses in a ballot. The bill now moves back to the House of Commons, where MPs could still reject the amendment.

However, it does not cover the controversial Crossrail levy, which could still be introduced by the Greater London Authority without businesses’ approval if the bill is enacted in its current form.

Meanwhile, the Government has amended its trade credit insurance top-up scheme unveiled in April. The scheme has been extended so that businesses that have had their cover withdrawn since October 1 will be eligible. Until now, only those retailers that had cover withdrawn from April 1 onwards qualified.

Retailers have welcomed the change, which will allow many more companies to purchase top-up cover as part of the £5bn government scheme, but the BRC said it still does not go far enough. 

BRC business environment director Jane Milne said: “It should be backdated to last April, when insurers began removing cover as the downturn started to bite.”