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Thursday 25 April 2019


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400 High Street jobs a day lost since Christmas

Written by Peter Walker

New research has revealed that 18,722 people working for chains on Britain’s High have either been made redundant or have had their jobs threatened since Christmas Day Streets – the equivalent of 400 a day.

A total of 14,377 jobs have been lost whilst a further 4,345 remain at risk, according to analysis by property adviser Altus Group.

Oddbins, Patisserie Valerie, Greenwoods, Chapelle, tReds and HMV have all entered administration recently, while Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Santander have all announced thousands of jobs are to go.

On 25 March retailers across the UK will need to stump up for quarterly rent bills, whilst 1 April heralds the start of a new tax year.

The standard tax rate, which applies to all medium and large premises in England with a rateable value over £51,000, will rise by 2.4 per cent to 50.4p in England at the start of April.

It will be the first time the tax rate for business rates in England will have gone above 50 per cent and will add an extra £127 million to the rates burden for the retail sector, noted Altus.

At the start of this month, the Treasury Committee launched a new inquiry into Business Rates to scrutinise how government policy has impacted business.

Following repeated calls for reform to help retailers last year, MPs will examine how the tax policy has changed, including Business Rates retention and alternatives to property-based taxes - such as the proposed digital services tax.

The National Living Wage will also increase by 4.9 per cent to £8.21 per hour on 1 April, whilst rates for younger workers will also increase above inflation.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus, said times are tough for High Street businesses right now, whilst Brexit uncertainty is also hurting both manufacturers and the services industries.

“During the last decade, revenue from business rates has risen by 32 per cent in England up £6 billion to £24 billion for the current year,” he stated. “Next month’s Spring Statement shouldn’t just be an update on the UK's economic outlook, but a meaningful opportunity to deliver a stimulus to all sectors by freezing the planned rate rises.”

Earlier today, British Retail Consortium and Springboard figures showed that one in every ten High Street shops is now empty, as footfall at shopping centres continues to dwindle.

Meanwhile, a survey last week found that more than 60 per cent of UK shoppers fear the High Street may disappear entirely as consumers shift to online shopping.

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