The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has signed a letter alongside 50 retail organisations calling for the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid to reform the business rates system.
In the letter, retail organisations including the British Retail Consortium and Booksellers Association have called on the government to put business rates at heart of the promised new economic package to boost business and investment in the UK.
The letter asks for four fixes that would address many of the challenges posed by business rates:
• a freeze in the business rates multiplier;
• fixing transitional relief, which currently forces many retailers to pay more than they should;
• introducing an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayers; and
• ensuring that the Valuation Office Agency is fully resourced to do its job.
The letter highlights that implementation of these four recommendations “could be undertaken quickly, would reduce regional disparities, remove barriers to the proper working of market forces, incentivise economic investment, and cut away at least some of the bureaucracy of the current system.”
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The business rates system is outdated and inefficient.
“We need to be incentivising businesses to invest, rather than penalising them when they do. Convenience stores provide essential services to their communities, many of which cannot be sustained on a standalone basis. It is vital that the government works to preserve these services and the stores that house them.”