The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on chancellor George Osborne to freeze business rates for 2012.

Following Osborne's recent announcement that council tax would not increase next year, BRC director general Stephen Robertson asked him to replicate this in the business sector.

"The council tax freeze will make a useful contribution to easing the pressure on household budgets, leaving customers with more money to spend," he said. "If the government really believes in generating growth, it will limit the burden for businesses too.

"Under the current rules, businesses are likely to be hit by a destructive 5% increase in business rates next April on top of a similar increase imposed this year," Robertson added.

"These extra costs can only undermine retailers' ability to invest and create jobs. The government should abandon the rates roulette of basing each year's rates increase on the previous September's RPI. We need a system that produces business rates changes that are more certain and, above all, more affordable."

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