Business rates 'too high'

22nd February 2013 | News

A series of organisations have spoken out against a business rate rise.

The overwhelming majority of small businesses believe that business rates are too high, hitting the country's high streets hard.

That is according to new research from the Forum of Private Business, which said that two-thirds of those firms questioned said that they saw no benefits to the money they had paid in tax.

Indeed, the issue has been debated for many months as firms continue to struggle to afford rates on the sites they use.

High costs are thought to be deterring many from setting up their own business, leading the Taxpayers' Alliance to join calls for a freezing of business rates.

It believes that doing so would help in "letting firms grow, prosper and create new jobs" along with delivering economic growth to the country at a time when it needs it most.

Furthermore, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has backed calls to help small firms, saying that it is essential business costs are reduced to help with future growth.

It believes the costs of running a business have increased by 21 per cent since 2006, forcing many to close and putting off others from setting-up their own firm.

BRC's Director-General Helen Dickinson said that there are plenty of reasons to make changes to business rates in next month's Budget.

"Retail is a major force for good. It's the UK's largest private sector jobs provider and has been a powerhouse for investment and growth, even during the relentlessly tough times of the last few years," he noted.

"There were welcome measures in the Autumn Statement and the Chancellor has it within his gift to do a great deal more. Our figures show dramatic increases in operating costs, often as a direct result of Government decisions."

George MacDonald also told Retail Week: "Business rates have become a particular burden - and relieving that pressure is within the power of government.

"Ahead of next month's Budget, the industry should renew its efforts to win a sensible business rates regime."

Posted by Thomas Fletcher