Co-op boss Murrells calls for business rates reform to save small towns

Steve Murrells column

The Co-op’s chief executive Steve Murrells has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reform the business rates system ahead of the budget this week.

Murrells has told the newly appointed chancellor ahead of his first budget on Wednesday that business rates are having a “hidden human cost” on the UK’s most economically vulnerable towns.

According to The Times, research conducted by the Co-op and presented to Sunak by Murrells found that towns with the highest number of vacant shops have the lowest ‘community wellbeing’ scores as retailer struggle to keep stores open amid rising costs and flagging footfall.

So far this year 1,211 shops have been shut and 18,000 retail jobs lost, according to the Centre for Retail Research.

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