The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has set out a business rates reform plan to Chancellor George Osborne ahead of the Autumn Statement early next month.
It has recommended a 2% cap on annual rates increases to provide retailers with greater certainties in their financial planning, along with a root and branch reform of the discretionary rate relief system. Business rates are due to rise by 3.2% in April 2014.
The Chancellor will make his annual Autumn Statement on 5 December. The Autumn Statement provides an update on the government’s plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Chancellor must take action to reduce the spiralling costs that are deterring retailers from investing and creating more jobs, and this starts by reforming the business rates system to stop the annual unpredictable rates increases that have put many local shops in jeopardy.”
The ACS has also made recommendations on energy, including the introduction of a mandatory 12 month limit on backbilling introduced by all suppliers, an end to automatic rollover contracts, and a robust accreditation system for third party intermediaries to stop mis-selling in the market.
On employment regulations, it recommends a freeze in the 2014 National Minimum Wage rate at its current level in addition to continued assessment of the impact of increases on small retailers.