Revo, the representative body for the UK retail property sector, has published an open letter to chancellor Sajid Javid calling for an urgent review of business rates as the UK fast approaches its exit from the EU.
In the letter, Revo argued that government policy to make the UK attractive to international business is undermined by the property tax, which is “damaging to business and out of place in 2019”.
It branded previous government actions regarding business rates as merely “tinkering”, and requested a meeting with Javid to discuss Revo’s recommendations.
- Lowering, or at minimum freezing, the business rates multiplier
- Removing downwards transitional phasing so that any benefit from a fall in the tax is experienced instantly
- A move to annual revaluations
- Exploring a new tax on online sales and services to offset a reduction in business rates.
The letter states: “the broken business rates system …in its current form, is simply out of place in 2019, damaging business, undermining capital investment and ruining communities at a time of unparalleled transformation in this digital age.”
Revo chief executive, Edward Cooke, and president, Mark Robinson, asked Javid to “create an equitable tax system fit for purpose in a 21st century economy”.
Cooke said: “Ahead of the next Budget, and despite Brexit fast-approaching, it is critical that Government doesn’t ignore the domestic policy agenda, and commits to reforming business rates, insolvency practices and planning policy to supercharge the UK economy, establishing our position as a leading global retail market.”
Robinson added: “We are seeing unprecedented levels of distress in the retail sector, but despite a tumultuous two years and well over 150,000 jobs lost, successive governments have failed to do enough.”
Revo’s community includes property owners, occupiers, local authorities and advisers.