Everyone seems to agree the UK’s outdated business rates are broken and its many detractors claim the system is crippling hopes of retail recovery post-lockdown. Yet there is less unanimity about finding a fairer alternative, as Mark Faithfull discovers.
What do you do with a problem like business rates? The retail and property industries appear united in the view that the current system is not working, with Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe declaring them an “unbearable yoke around the neck of thousands of shopkeepers”. As for a solution, well it depends on who you are.
The aim is to create a more equitable playing field for all retailers, but at the same time address any shortfall in the estimated £26bn that business rates raise for Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is hardly awash with revenue-generating options right now.
The answer? Well there are many that have been put forward.
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