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Hammond 'listening' to business rates backlash

Chancellor Philip Hammond has promised Conservative MPs that he is “listening” to a wave of concerns about the approaching revaluation of business rates.

Hammond has indicated that he is prepared to soften the blow for those businesses worst affected in the Budget next month, after fears were raised about the impact the changes could have on British high streets.

He also told MPs he was aware of the challenges posed by online retailers such as Amazon, which could enjoy a cut in rates for its warehouses.

Last month, property sources told Drapers that retailers are abandoning prime locations in London and the south of England as they brace themselves for the rates revaluation in April. London is expected to be particularly hard hit, with rates expected to rise by 14% on average.

Research has also suggested small and medium-sized shops could be hit harder by the revaluation than online players with out-of-town warehouses.

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