A campaign to cap the annual business rates increase at 2%, in line with Government targets for inflation, is being launched by the ACS today.

Annual rates increases are currently based on Retail Price Index inflation figures from the previous September, and with RPI recorded at unusually high levels in 2011, retailers will be faced with a significantly increased rates bill despite forecasts suggesting inflation will have fallen by the time rates are affected.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “By deferring part of the business rate increase for two years in November’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor took a positive step toward encouraging growth for retailers. However, deferral schemes have been implemented twice in three years by consecutive Governments after increases topped 5%, illustrating the need for a fairer system of setting business rates.”

“We are encouraging retailers to write to their MP and call on them to lobby the Chancellor to set rates in accordance with the Government’s own targets for inflation. This would save the retail sector over £200million this year and allow local shops and high street stores to focus on sustaining and growing their business.”

Retailers can download a pro forma letter to send to their MP at www.acs.org.uk/rates