Retailers have demanded talks with the Government over the proposed business rates review and its aim of being “fiscally neutral”.
The British Retail Consortium, along with other business groups including the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce, are to meet David Gauke, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, this month over concerns the review could be severely restricted by Government’s “fiscally neutral” pledge.
One source told The Telegraph that they wanted to “clarify” what being “fiscally neutral” will mean in practice. There are concerns that any review will not result in any overhaul of the system.
Helen Dickinson, director-general at the BRC, said: “The high street plays a key role in our economy and the Government review of the structure of business rates is a very positive step towards addressing the barriers to future growth and development.
“A big question for business rates payers will be the definition of fiscal neutrality within the review and whether that’s within the current confines of business rates or more broadly across all taxes, and how it accounts for the recent adjustments to total income through special reliefs.
“We would favour as broad a definition as possible to enable real flexibility as the review moves forward.”
George Osborne unveiled plans for a review into business rates in the Autumn Statement in December.