Britain’s largest independent family jeweller, F Hinds has joined more than 100 of Britain’s biggest companies calling for business rates to be overhauled.
The signatories of the open letter, published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, call the conversional tax a “critical problem”, saying that business rates “are no longer fit for purpose for the 21st Century” and must be revamped in order to “unleash investment”.
F Hinds is the only jeweller signatory, whilst other firms inlcude Tesco, Marks & Spencer and General Motors.
Led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the firms are predominantly retailers, but it has also been backed by manufacturers, bookmakers, gyms and property companies.
It is understood that business rates bring in around £25bn for the Treasury each year, but businesses believe that it is hindering investment. The letter proposes that the political parties should commit to reform in their manifestos for the 2015 general election.
Andrew Hinds, director at F Hinds told Jewellery Focus: “One of the reasons why we regularly reject potential stores is because the business rates are too high, despite the fact that we would very much like to open new shops.
“Another factor is that business premises were last revalued in April 2008, when property prices were exceptionally highly valued and the business rates currently levied still reflect that. It is estimated that high street shops pay a disproportionate 28% of all business rates, and are estimated to be the third largest outgoing after employment costs and rents.”
As the Daily Telegraph has consistently pointed out, the current system of business rates is no longer fit for purpose for the 21st Century. Business rates are higher than property taxes anywhere else in Europe and are the second highest in the OECD. This is a critical problem for all of British business.
A recent survey demonstrated that 93% of MPs agree that the fundamental reform of business rates would revitalise our high streets and town centres. Manufacturers, retailers, the hospitality trade, property, service industries and businesses large and small are all held back by business rates.
A modern, sustainable and transparent system would unleash investment that could bring skilled and entry level jobs and new and expanded businesses into our local communities.
Those who seek a competitive tax regime as a draw for investment and jobs should apply that logic to business rates.
It is no longer an option to say that reform is too difficult or complicated and we call on all political parties to commit to fundamental reform in their manifestos for the next General Election.
British Property Federation
National Hair Dressers’ Federation
Marks & Spencer
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers
Risk Capital Partners
John Lewis Partnership
Westminster Property Association
Insite Asset Management
New River Retail Ltd
Picton Capital Limited
Crabtree & Evelyn
Freight Transport Association
Business Centres Association
New West End Company
Forum for Private Business
British Aggregates Association
Henderson Real Estate
Holland & Barrett
Rural Shop Alliance
Recruitment & Employment Confederation
Cushman & Wakefield
UK Petroleum Industry Association
The Buildings Futures Group
British Chambers of Commerce
3 Sisters Food Group
Association of Convenience Stores