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Government to launch fresh business rates inquiry

The treasury select committee will launch a new inquiry into the business rates system next year as retailers continue to struggle on the high street.

Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the treasury select committee, is holding a joint evidence session with the housing, communities and local government committee this afternoon (19 December).

Drapers understands the committee will publish its terms of reference for the inquiry in the new year.

It is thought the inquiry will focus on the struggles of large high street retailers, the amount the retail sector pays and the tax position with the digital economy.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus Group, “warmly welcomed” the committee’s intervention: “The Budget measures, while great for independent retailers with smaller premises, did nothing to help those major retail and hospitality businesses who are reducing their estates and headcount often citing high rates as a contributory factor.

“The long-term unfairnesses for those large premises whose property value has fallen sharply but are then denied the commensurate tax reduction must be addressed by this inquiry and, hopefully, this inquiry will also take the bull by the horns and see how to best level the tax playing field with large online only retailers.”

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