The Government’s attitude to business rates makes me irate.
Next year retailers in England will suffer a 2.6% hike in their rates bill, a crazy burden in the current climate. With the increases imposed in 2011-13, the Government will have taken more than two-thirds of a billion quid extra out of our tills.
The current rates are based on valuations that applied at the peak of the market before the recession. We are paying too much already. Rateable values need to come down. But the Government has postponed its review of current levels from 2015 to 2017.
Unless we get a policy change, every retailer will pay over the odds for a couple more years.
As small and medium-sized traders, we have to pressurise the policymakers to think again.
The British Retail Consortium (of which Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association, is a member) is making representations to have the rates fiasco improved.
Bira, which has the Fashion Association of Britain as one of its divisions, will continue to speak on behalf of the independent retail sector, but we all have to do our own bit as well to make sure our MPs and local politicians are fully aware of the effects of this madcap policy.
- Michael Hughes, Owner of indie department store Tom Hughes in south Wales. Michael Hughes will become president of Bira next year