Retail industry calls on government to freeze business rates multiplier

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is among a coalition of retail, leisure, and hospitality organisations which have called on chancellor Jeremy Hunt to freeze the business rates multiplier and extend existing reliefs for a further year at the upcoming Autumn Statement.

A letter from the coalition, which also includes UKHospitality, the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Independent Retail Association and ukactive, warned that businesses, jobs and “the future of High Streets” would be at risk without the measures.

The coalition’s letter highlighted that energy prices remained at “historically high levels” while businesses in its labour-intensive sectors continue to see high wage and input costs.

“An inflationary increase in the business rates multiplier and removal of reliefs would be disastrous for our sectors,” the letter read. “It will mean business failures, job losses and boarded up properties in our High Streets, denying people their livelihoods and their social pleasures.”

It concluded: “We therefore collectively urge you to continue your business rates support – prioritising a freeze in the multiplier, extension of the RHL Relief for a further year at 75 per cent and an increase in the relief’s cap to at least £2 million per business.”

The letter marks the latest action by the BRC, which recently called for a freeze to the business rates multiplier as it recorded an easing of shop price inflation for the fifth consecutive month.

“To keep inflation heading in the right direction, it is vital that the government does not burden businesses with unnecessary new costs,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said at the time.

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