Reform of business rates would help boost UK productivity, top retailers have told the Government.
A poll of retail chiefs by industry body the BRC found that 95% believed an overhaul of the rates regime would be good for the nation’s productivity.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, who is also overseeing a Government-backed plan to narrow the productivity gap between the UK and US, threw his weight behind calls for rates reform.
Mayfield, who is also chairman of the BRC, told The Telegraph: “Business rates bills have continued to rise when property values have fallen.
“Retailers are now paying £2.40 in business rates for every £1 in corporation tax.
“Reforming the rates system would be a welcome boost for retailers and help drive investment in training and technology.”
Retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, owner of businesses such as Boux Avenue and Ryman, said: “The Government can’t expect retailers to be investing in IT, modernising shops and hiring more staff to boost productivity while also raising business rates and the national living wage.”
Improving the UK’s productivity is a priority for the Government and business secretary Sajid Javid.
Business rates are expected to cost £28bn this year.