The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has asked MPs to call on the goverment to take action to address the increasing problems presented by business rates policy at national and local level.

MPs had an opportunity to raise their concerns today (Tuesday October 30) in a Westminster Hall debate led by Simon Danczuk MP.

The recent announcement of a delay in the revaluation of business rates until 2017 adds further pressure to retailers occupying properties that are overvalued, as calculations were based on property values in 2008 at the height of the market.

Ahead of the debate, the ACS wrote to all MPs calling on them to support three key actions that will help reduce the burden of business rates and provide clarity and consistency for businesses.

These are:

- Remove Section 22 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill delaying the 2015 business rate revaluation and undertake a full consultation on impact on business.

- Review the mechanism for setting annual business rates increase, capping increases in line the government’s inflation target (current 2%).

- Encourage local authorities to use discretionary rates relief as part of their strategy to encourage investment and growth in high streets.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “Year-on-year increases in business rates have put pressure on businesses and stifled investment at a time when growth is desperately needed. Policy on business rates has been piecemeal and has led to high rises and uncertainty for retailers.

“The government needs to now look at all aspects of business rates and establish a clear pro-growth policy which will help and support businesses.”

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