Business rates must be a priority of the new Government

Businesses from every sector are calling on whoever wins the election to address business rates reform, particularly as the UK negotiates a deal to leave the European Union.

Business groups have joined together to write to the three main parties urging them to tackle the issue, saying that the “burden of property taxation is too high and is at a tipping point”.

The group includes the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the British Property Federation and the British Retailers Consortium (BRC).

According to the letter, the business rates system will be a key factor in shaping investment and growth in the UK economy for decades to come, therefore, the signatories ‘respectfully ask’ the next Government to consider their views and to fundamentally reform business rates making them fit for purpose in the future.

It goes on to say that business rates will not cease to be an issue for businesses until the UK has a fair system of business taxation, which is internationally competitive and encourages investment.

The letter adds that the challenges businesses face as the UK negotiates its future relationship with Europe has made reducing the burden of business rates even more critical.

A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which was also a signatory, said that the new Government should “take politics out of the process” by setting up an independent inquiry or royal commission into the topic.

Commenting on the letter, a spokesman for the BRC suggested that the frequency of revaluations should also be increased to address the “complexity and unfairness” of the existing system, as this would avoid the sharp rises in rates that can happen under the current seven-year cycle.

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