The UK’s High Street retailers could be facing a £170m increase in business rates next year.
That’s according to analysis of available data by real estate specialist Altus Group, which says the total business rates rise in 2020 is likely to be in the region of £660m, based on an expected adjustment +2.1% in line with September inflation.
If correct, it’s yet more financial pressure on the High Street, something that the industry is already lobbying the government to address.
Last month fifty major retailer demanded the Government takes action to fix the ‘broken business rates system’. In a letter to the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, retailers called on the Government to put business rates at heart of the promised new economic package.
The letter, coordinated by the British Retail Consortium, was signed by major retailers including the CEOs of supermarkets, food-to-go, fashion, homeware, and department store retailers.
The letter asked for four fixes that would address many of the challenges posed by business rates:
- A freeze in the business rates multiplier;
- Fixing transitional relief, which currently forces many retailers to pay more than they should;
- Introducing an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayers;
- Ensuring that the Valuation Office Agency is fully resourced to do its job.
Altus Group’s Head of UK business Rates, Robert Hayton, reiterated the point, telling PA: “With major retail and hospitality businesses reducing their estates and headcount often citing high level of rates as a contributory factor, I urge the Chancellor to take the bold and ambitious step of being the first Chancellor to freeze the multiplier since the national business rates system was introduced in 1990.”