ACS Gives Evidence to HCLG Committee; Calls on Government to Incentivise Investment

ACS has given evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s inquiry on high streets, explaining the need for retail businesses to invest and change, and calling for reform of business rates to incentivise this investment.

The Committee is considering evidence from ACS and other industry bodies as part of an inquiry into the future role of the high street in contributing to the local economy and the health, cohesion and cultural life of the local community. The inquiry is also looking at how local areas are planning for the future of their high streets and town centres and creating the conditions to sustain them in the years ahead, as well as whether councils have the planning, licensing, tax raising and other tools needed to help local areas flourish.

Speaking to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee evidence session, ACS head of policy and public affairs Edward Woodall said: “Two of the defining characteristics of successful businesses on high streets today are those that are convenient and provide an experience for customers. These characteristics depend on flexibility and an ability for those retailers to invest. However, the key issue facing retailers looking to invest in their stores is that their rates bills increase when they do so. When retailers invest to make their businesses more secure by putting in more CCTV, or introduce a new service as part of a wider offer to customers, their rates bills go up. The business rates system can be improved by incentivising investment instead of putting an extra cost burden on retailers.”

In its submission to the 2018 Budget, ACS has called on the Government to incentivise investment through the business rates system by allowing retailers to defer any increase in business rates as a result of that investment by at least a year. ACS has also called on the Government to introduce a new rating methodology for online distribution warehouses based on their turnover, with the funds raised being used to subsidise the rates bills of bricks and mortar businesses trading on high streets.

ACS’ full submission to the Budget is available here:

Alongside the formal evidence sessions, the Committee is looking for views from the public on why their high-street matters and what they think could be improved about it. The public can tweet their views and pictures of their high street using the hashtag #myhighstreetmatters

The full session is available to view here: 


This entry was posted by Chris on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 08:55