Spring budget: government business rates reforms 'don't go far enough', says BRC chief

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that business rates reforms don’t go far enough, following the unveiling of the chancellor’s Spring Budget.

While Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, welcomed the UK government’s measures around ongoing energy bill support and childcare costs, she noted that many businesses are currently “weighed down by a myriad of higher costs right through the supply chain”.

Dickinson said that a “broken” Business Rates system remains a drag on business investment, jobs, and economic growth, and that rates must be paid in full whether firms are making a profit or a loss.

“This makes Business Rates the final nail in the coffin for many struggling stores; shutting shops, costing jobs and preventing new stores openings,” she said. “The Chancellor should make good on the Conservative 2019 pledge to reform rates and lay out a clear roadmap for future reforms.”

“Government must do more to limit one of the biggest drags to retail investment, which is oncoming regulatory burdens heading down the track, or risk a crash in business investment and further inflationary pressures,” she said.

Pointing out that businesses have lost £3.5 billion in unused levy funds over the last three years, she continued: “The chancellor understands the need to train people to re-enter the workforce, yet he missed a key opportunity to fix the issues with the Apprenticeship Levy system that would support this very goal.”

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