ACS: Business Rates Support Vital to Enable Local Shops to Invest

ACS has submitted evidence to the Government’s first consultation on a fundamental review of the business rates system, detailing the how rate reliefs have enabled convenience retailers to invest in their stores and continue to provide essential services in local communities.

Figures from the ACS Voice of Local Shops Survey, conducted in August 2020, have shown that as a result of Government support measures like the business rates holiday and other grants, 42% of retailers have been able to keep their store open when it otherwise would have had to close. One in three retailers (33%)  have used Government support to ensure that their store is safe for colleagues and customers.

The submission calls for the Government’s Covid-19 business rates support to be extended beyond 2021, with future removal of the relief to be tapered to prevent a sudden shock increase in operating costs. ACS also outlined the need for a centrally administered Small Business Rate Relief to continue.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The support provided to retailers through the pandemic has been crucial in ensuring that they can keep trading and keep their communities going. We must ensure that in the coming months, businesses are not hit with a sudden shock increase in their operating costs through hefty business rates bills.”

In the submission, ACS makes a series of additional recommendations for how business rates reliefs and multipliers can be improved within the current system. These include:

  • Maintain the central administration and automatic allocation of business rates reliefs through national rateable value thresholds.
  • Incentivise investment by introducing a Business Growth Accelerator Relief, similar to the scheme in Scotland, allowing retailers to recoup the capital costs of investments.
  • Reduce the overall burden of business rates by resetting the business rates multipliers at more sustainable level.

ACS has also submitted evidence to a consultation on supporting high streets after Covid-19, echoing recommendations on extended business rates support and the importance of incentivising investment.

The full submissions are available on the ACS website here:

This entry was posted by Chloe on Fri, 18/09/2020 - 15:15