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BRC calls for 100,000 small firms to be exempt from business rates

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is calling for as many as 100,000 small firms in the UK to be freed of the millstone of business rates around their necks.
The lobby group has proposed companies whose properties have a rateable value of less than £12,000 be made exempt from the tax, according to the Telegraph, a move which could apply to 1.14 million premises.
Business rates have been a perennial bugbear for retailers big and small across the country for a number of years. However, with the tax worth £27bn to the nation’s coffers, it is perhaps unsurprising why the Treasury is loath to tamper with the existing structure.
Nevertheless, the BRC claims lower value properties account for 64 per cent of those hit by business rates, while only contributing six per cent of the total tax intake.
The organisation argues that any loss would be more than made up by the boost to businesses and the time saved by the state’s tax men.
“Removing these properties from the financial and administrative burden of business rates would have a hugely positive effect, with the cost to the public purse outweighed by the boost to enterprise and the substantial efficiency savings that the exemption would bring,” the BRC added.
Additional proposals sent to the Government ahead of the consultation’s close included ditching the inflation-linked yearly increase in rates and exempting empty properties from paying for six months.
Ion Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said: “We urge the Government to take note of our suggestions, as we fear that lack of reform could have damaging consequences for the property industry and economy as a whole.”

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