The minister responsible for business rates has urged the retail industry to get involved in determining “the future of business rates”.
Addressing an All Party Small Shops group on the issue, financial secretary to the Treasury David Gauke MP called for new ideas on rates.
“Business rates have moved up the political agenda and we have responded with a significant package of announcements in the Autumn Statement,” he said. “We are in the market for ideas on the future of business rates and I welcome the contribution of small shops to the review.”
The comments follow last week’s Autumn Statement in which chancellor George Osborne announced a review of how business rates are calculated. He also announced a 2% cap on inflation-linked rises; the doubling of rate relief for a further year; and a 50% increase in rate relief for high street shops.
The group was chaired by Simon Danczuk MP and featured a panel discussion with representatives from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the British Independent Retail Association, the Rural Shops Alliance and the Booksellers Association.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The measures announced in Autumn Statement will help our members by reducing their rates bills in 2015. In the longer term, we need to find a fairer and more transparent system for calculating business rates. I am very pleased the minister attended the Small Shops group meeting today and it is clear he is open to ideas from small shops.”