Retail faces “yet another eye-watering rise in business rates” following the publication of September’s inflation figures.
Inflation in September edged down on a monthly basis to 2.4% from 2.7% in August, according to the ONS Consumer Price Index, meaning retailer’s business rates will go up by £180m as of next April.
This figure, which is used to calculate the business rates multiplier, signals an overall business rates hike of £728.2m, with £186.5m being shouldered by the retail sector, according to real estate advisor Altus Group.
Retailers are up in arms about the crushing burden of business rates, and have demanded that changes be made to the system. Some argue that bricks-and- mortar retailers are being put at a competitive disadvantage to online rivals simply because they run shops.
Tesco boss Dave Lewis called for a tax on product sales online to level the playing field earlier this month, which he argued should be used to reduce costs borne by physical retailers’ shops.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “These figures confirm that the retail industry, which is under significant pressure from public policy and a consumer and technology-led transformation, will face yet another eye-watering rise in business rates next April. The burden of the current business rates system, which is in urgent need of reform, is leading to store closures and hindering the successful reinvention of the industry.
“Ministers need to act to address this £180m increase in retailers’ already unsustainable business rates bill, along with other public policy burdens that retailers are struggling to absorb the cost of.
“We need a freeze in the business rates multiplier until the next revaluation to help save shops, protect jobs, and future-proof retail, and to give the Government time to work with industry to reform the business tax system and make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.”