The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has responded to proposals on business rates from the Labour Party.
Ed Miliband has announced a 1% cut in business rates in 2015 if Labour is in power after the election. The move would involve reversing the inflation-linked increase scheduled for April 2015 and scrapping the planned increase in 2016.
More than 100 companies signed a BRC-coordinated open letter last week warning that business rates are a critical problem that needs to be addressed and pressure is growing on political parties to reform the tax.
Responding to the announcement BRC director general Helen Dickinson (pictured) said: “We are heartened that Labour has listened to retailers’ concerns on business rates. As well as leading the debate on fundamental change, the BRC has been strongly encouraging the continuation of an immediate package for retailers to support the high street and it is very welcome to hear it announced.”
She added: “UK business rates are the highest property taxes of any EU country and lead directly to vacant shops and job losses. It is widely agreed that the system is no longer fit for purpose and requires total reform. We look forward to discussing the road to broader reforms with Labour as we draw closer to the election.”