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Bira: ‘High street rates reform not radical enough’

The British Independent Retailers Association has argued that the high street business rates reform announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement (December 3) are “not radical enough”.

Bira said it was “disappointed” that rates will increase by 2% in April, as it had campaigned for a freeze across the UK.

However, the association welcomed the extension of small business rate relief and a 50% increase in the smaller property discount.

Bira put forward an outline of a reform package in its June submission to a consultation on the administration of the tax. It argued that the government knows there is a problem in this area and it should “bite the bullet” and exempt 80% of small premises from paying rates, enabling local officers to revalue larger premises more frequently.

Alan Hawkins, Bira chief executive, said: “The relief, discount and review are all evidence that the government knows there is a real problem to be solved. We will contribute strongly to the process of solving it.”

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