Retail entrepreneur and star of Dragons’ Den Theo Paphitis is backing the Retail Week and British Retail Consortium (BRC) campaign urging the Government to freeze business rates.
The Ryman, Boux Avenue and Robert Dyas owner said: “I couldn’t agree more with the campaign. For too long, businesses have been making up for the inefficiencies of local authorities and councils.
“Landlords have had to get real when it comes to rents. Local authorities think they don’t have to take any of the pain and put the costs up.”
Paphitis added: “Local authorities have enough power [to change rates] if they wanted.”
The Fair Rates for Retail campaign aims to ease the business rates burden on retailers, which have had to pay an extra £500m in rates over the past two years.
However, this week housing and local government minister Mark Prisk stood firm on the planned 2.6% increase expected in April.
He cited the year extension to the rates relief for small businesses and the three-year business rates deferral scheme introduced last year as steps taken to help businesses.
Prisk told Retail Week: “It is unlikely we will go further than we have already gone.”
Speaking about the two-year delay to the rates revaluation the former business minister said the Government was right to postpone the revaluation to 2017 rather than sticking with the original 2015 deadline. He said: “We looked quite carefully at this. Evidence shows there are eight winners to three losers, so we felt that it was right to postpone.”
Retailers and property experts have criticised the move, as it will mean many will continue to pay business rates based on peak 2008 rates. Business secretary Vince Cable is also understood to have called for his office to look again at the decision to delay the rates revaluation.
But Prisk explained there may not be such a large benefit as retailers are expecting, as the ratable value, which the revaluation covers, would need to drop lower than the average level in order for retailers to benefit.
Fair Rates For Retail
Join the Retail Week and BRC campaign to reform the outmoded business rate system