Business Groups Call for Urgent Action to Address Cost of Business Rates

Business groups including the Association of Convenience Stores have written to the Chancellor, calling for urgent action to address the problems with the business rates system in the 2017 Budget.

The letter highlights concerns over the scheduled business rates increase of 3.9% in April 2018 set as a result of the Retail Prices Index reaching that level in September of this year, noting that overall, the increase will amount to around £1.1bn more being paid by UK businesses. The 3.9% annual increase is the highest since 2012.

The Government has previously committed to moving to the Consumer Prices Index to set rates increases by 2020, and has committed in its 2017 manifesto document to ‘make longer term reforms to the system to address concerns about the way it currently works’. However, the letter calls for urgent action, a full review, and consideration of the implications of April’s rates increase.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The business rates system is in urgent need of review to ensure that the system is fairer for everyone and that businesses are not unnecessarily penalised for investing and improving their offer to customers. We are urging the Chancellor to reform the rates system so that it incentivises investment and removes the threat of significant annual increases like the one scheduled for April 2018.”

In its’ submission to the Budget, ACS has called on the Chancellor to take the following action on business rates:

  • Clarify the timetable for 100% funding of rural rate relief and the change in indexation from RPI to CPI
  • Review the rating for properties not based on rental values such as petrol forecourts and free to use ATMs
  • Deliver more frequent revaluations of rates bills
  • Restructure the business rates system to incentivise investment

Signatories of the letter include: the Association of Convenience Stores, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, British Retail Consortium, British Beer and Pub Association, British Chambers of Commerce, British Independent Retailers Association, British Property Federation, Confederation of British Industry, EEF, Federation of Small Businesses, Revo and Retra.

The full letter is available at

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 26/10/2017 - 10:47