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Rate rise threatens retail sector jobs

The future of up to 19,300 retail jobs and 582 retail businesses are under threat because of planned business rate rises according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC said it was calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling to use Wednesday’s Budget to freeze all new business rate burdens and to reinstate business rate relief on empty commercial property.

“Alistair Darling must use his Budget to announce an immediate freeze on all new business rate burdens and the reinstatement of empty property rates relief.”

BRC director general Stephen Robertson

According to independent research commissioned by the BRC and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, there could be as many as 19,300 retail job losses by 2021 as a direct result of the 30% increase in business rates.

582 retail businesses could fail by 2011 and there could be as much as £800 million shaved off investment in retail businesses by 2013.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Our report reveals the scale of the potential damage to jobs, businesses and the wider economy from these business rates increases.”

Robertson added: “The irony is a third of what the Chancellor gains in extra business rates will be lost to him as a reduced retail sector delivers lower amounts of other taxes and the benefits bill rises. Alistair Darling must use his Budget to announce an immediate freeze on all new business rate burdens and the reinstatement of empty property rates relief.”

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