Retail leaders urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak for business rates reform

Rishi Sunak business rates

Newly-appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak has received a written letter from business leaders calling for a number of reforms to business rates, ahead of his first budget this month.

Representatives from organisations such as the BRC, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Association of Convenience Stores are among those to have urged Sunak to reform business rates.

The business leaders called for four “simple principles” that would ensure business rates are “fairer, more accurate and fit for purpose in the future”.

The principles also include the requirement for business rates to be fiscally neutral, simplifying the system to reduce the burden on the VOA, reviewing the Check, Challenge and Appeal system, and removing provisions which “penalise” businesses for modernising stores.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said the current system “holds back investment”.

“Britain’s broken business rates system is one of many upfront costs that are holding back the growth potential of companies across the UK,” she said.

“It’s time for the government to deliver on its manifesto pledge to review and reduce business rates so firms can invest in their people and prospects instead.”

Last month, over 50 major retailers wrote to the government, urging ministers to overhaul business rates in the Budget.

The letter – signed by chief executives of retailers including Asda, B&Q, Greggs and Ann Summers, among others – said “transitional relief” has seen the industry forced to subsidise others to the tune of £543 million over the last three years.