ACS Urges Chancellor to Help Businesses to Invest

The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the Chancellor to help retailers to invest in their shops without being punished by the rating system.

In its submission ahead of the Autumn Budget on 29 October, ACS sets out a number of reforms to make business rates fairer for local shops, help them to improve their offer to customers, and invest in technology to remain competitive in a challenging retail market. ACS’ recommendations include:

  • Introduce a business growth accelerator to delay increases in their rates bills as a result of investments for at least one year
  • Introduce a new rating methodology for online distribution warehouses, so that they pay their fair share of rates
  • Use funds from taxes levied against online businesses to reinstate the £1,500 reduction in business rates for high street businesses with a rateable value of under £50,000
  • Review the turnover-based rating schemes for ATMs and petrol forecourt sites that result in disproportionately high rates bills

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The business rates system now contradicts wider policy objectives: unfairly targeting essential services like free to use ATMs and petrol forecourts, and penalising retailers when they try to improve their stores. It is crucial that local shops, small businesses and other bricks and mortar stores feel confident to invest, especially as they need to change to compete with online retailers who pay very small rates bills by comparison. The practical, fair and proportionate measures we are proposing would rebalance the system and drive investment.”

In the submission, ACS has also called on the Chancellor to introduce a business crime investment allowance, providing tax reliefs on crime prevention equipment to help retailers, the police and the communities in which stores trade.

Mr Lowman continued: “Incentivising investment in new technology and equipment is not just about making a business more appealing, it’s also about making it safer and deterring criminals from offending. The Chancellor has an opportunity to support retailers and their colleagues by introducing a specific allowance for crime prevention measures, as a response to rising retail crime.” 

Figures from the 2018 Crime Report show that the total cost of crimes committed against the convenience sector increase over the last year to £193m, which equates to a 7p ‘crime tax’ on every transaction in stores. Shop theft alone costs each store in the sector an average of around £1,700 a year.

The full submission is available on the ACS website here.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Fri, 28/09/2018 - 10:08