A coalition of organisations representing over 100,000 shops and other businesses has called on the government reduce business rates instead of further cutting corporation tax.
In the letter to Chancellor George Osborne, the Association of Convenience Stores and groups representing businesses ranging from pubs and bars to large retailers, have highlighted that the cost of business rates remains too high, and that the further cuts in corporation tax do not go far enough to help businesses stay competitive.
Britain currently has the highest non-domestic property taxes in Europe, having steadily increased to make up a significant proportion of business rates in recent years while corporation tax has fallen compared to 1990.
The letter calls for the following government-backed measures to be implemented as soon as possible:
- Bring forward proposals to move annual increases from RPI to the much more widely used CPI before 2020
- Use the rating system to incentivise investment by reviewing existing schemes like those applied to plant and machinery
- Reduce the number of business rate appeals by making valuing the smallest businesses simpler
The letter states: “There is consensus from the business community that these actions could stimulate growth and show the government’s ambition to make the UK the best country in which to do business.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The measures announced by the Chancellor in the most recent budget to implement reforms in the business rates system are welcome, but the Chancellor needs to move further and faster to ensure that small businesses are able to invest in their long term future.
“Business rate costs are a significantly higher burden than corporation tax for small businesses, and we hope that the Chancellor will recognise this through swift policy interventions.”
The letter has also been backed by the British Retail Consortium, British Chambers of Commerce, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the Federation of Small Businesses.