BRC calls on government to slash rates by 50% to avoid April ‘cliff edge’

Houses of Parliament

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to slash business rates by 50% to “better reflect falling footfall and market rates” and avoid a potential “cliff edge” in April.

As part of its submission to the Treasury ahead of the end of the call for evidence for the second tranche of the business rates review today, the BRC argued a 50% reduction from when the current holiday ends next April would avoid a rash of store closures and job losses. 

In its submission document, seen by Retail Week, the BRC said: “There was an oversupply of retail space in the UK before Covid-19, and trends since February have only increased this as shoppers increasingly shop online – 30% of non-food retail sales were made online in February. This had risen to 40% by September. 

“The share of grocery sales made online rose from 7% to 15% over the same period. This will not return to pre-pandemic levels even once a vaccine is available. The economics of store-based retailing have shifted.”

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