BRC “welcomes” Conservatives’ commitment to review business rates system

Boris Johnson CBI BRC
Boris Johnson

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed the Conservatives’ pledge to review the business rates system as part of its new election manifesto, as well as the commitment to “end the Brexit uncertainty at the earliest opportunity.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “We welcome the commitment to review our broken business rates system, which holds back investment and accelerates job losses and store closures across the country. Currently, retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business taxes and 25% of business rates.

“To solve this, retailers welcome the calls to reduce business rates levied on retail business, but it is vital that this is applied to retailers of all sizes, including larger businesses, otherwise the benefit to our high streets and town centres will be limited.”

The BRC also welcomed the proposed cuts to National Insurance contributions as part of the need to bring down the business tax burden.

Dickinson commented: “The next Government should reduce the tax burden further, through business rates reforms including scrapping ‘downwards transition’, which costs retailers £1.3bn over five years, and introducing an ‘improvement relief’ to boost investment in retail locations.”

Despite welcoming the Conservatives’ commitment to end the Brexit uncertainty as soon as possible, Dickinson said that it is essential politicians “commit to a future of frictionless tariff-free trade to protect consumers from higher costs and less availability of everyday essentials.”

The BRC is also encouraged to see the Conservatives’ commitment to the training of workforces across the UK, with an extra £600 million per year towards the up- skilling of employees.