The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published a submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement on December 3, highlighting the need for a fundamental reform of the business rates system.
The BRC is seeking a statement of intent that the government plans to go beyond the steps it has already put in place to make the system fairer.
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, BRC director general Helen Dickinson sets how he could reassure business when he takes to the despatch box with an indication that broader reform is on the government’s agenda.
Dickinson said: “The retail industry’s championing of the need for fundamental reform of business rates is being increasingly amplified by industries as diverse as steel and car manufacturing and some of the country’s largest property companies.
“This is a strong indication that the time is right to set out a roadmap to fundamentally reform the system and make it fit for purpose for the 21st Century. We do not have any expectation that this could be fulfilled in advance of the general election but an indication that it will be on the agenda for a future government will resonate very well across British business and facilitate further planning to allow business to play a fuller part in the economic recovery.”
The BRC submission also highlights the need to improve infrastructure for business by tackling excessive fees charged by banks to process card payments, known as interchange fees.
The differing levels of card fee payments in the UK compared with Europe “affect UK businesses’ ability to compete internationally” by imposing higher costs on them than European competitors.