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BRC calls for two-year freeze on business rates

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has asked the government to consider freezing business rates for two years to ease the pressure on retailers.

By proposing a two-year freeze on increases, the BRC said it would give time for the government and industry to develop a proposal for an updated taxation system. The trade association said that a reformation was needed to “fix an unsustainable system that continues to discourage investment in jobs and growth”.

It also said that the current rates were “causing shop closures and job losses in hard-pressed communities” and “preventing retailers from delivering what their customers want” in a cost-effective and efficient way, and suggested the new system of appeals has added to the complications of revising inaccurate valuations.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “The current business rates system is not fit for purpose. It is a 20th Century answer to a 21st Century problem. Retail shoulders far more than its fair share, and the rates bill is leading to store closures and getting in the way of reinvention of our high streets.

“The BRC is calling on government to freeze business rates until the 2021 revaluation to relieve the burden of this unfair tax on retail businesses and allow time for dialogue about the wholesale modernisation of business taxation. This would be welcome government support for the country’s largest private sector employer at a critical time.”

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