ACS Calls for High Street Support in Business Rates Review

ACS has responded to the Government’s launch of a fundamental review of business rates, calling for greater support for small businesses and high streets.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome this overdue review, and we are pleased that it will take a look at radical options for reforming the outdated business rates system. The review must deliver help for high streets, be simpler than the current system, and offer incentives for investment rather than penalising businesses which improve their premises.”

The review was announced this morning by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, and is set to report its findings ahead of the 2016 Budget.

Mr Lowman continued: “Business rates are a significant cost to our members, especially high street and forecourt stores. Increases in business rates can make the difference between a local shop being viable and closing down. This review must look at the overall income from business rates, and allow it to change with economic cycles, rather than always increasing as is currently the case.”

The Government have undertaken a number of reviews of business rates over the last two years including the administration process for rates and a selection of short term measures including targeted reliefs for retail premises and capping annual increases in rates at 2%. The Commitment to a full strategic review of rates was announced in the Autumn Statement 2014 and represents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the entire business rates system.

ACS will respond to the review and is seeking views from members and other stakeholders to inform its response on behalf of the convenience store sector.