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Petitions put heat on business rates

The campaign for business rates reform is gathering pace with a number of petitions directed at the Government.

The Grimsey Review, pop-up collective We Are Pop Up and the Federation of Small Businesses have all launched petitions in the hope of gaining support for their demands.

The petition spearheaded by former Wickes DIY boss Bill Grimsey (bit.ly/1bpmwe0) calls for 2014’s rate to be frozen and revaluations introduced for 2015; the adoption of the consumer price index (CPI) rather than retail price index (RPI) for setting rents; that revaluations be made annually, rather than every five years from 2017; and for ultimately a review of the system.

Led by Boxpark chief executive Roger Wade, We Are Pop Up (chn.ge/1afmgvc and bit.ly/1dhLPyR) is calling for a three-month relief from business rates for small independent retailers to encourage pop-ups as “a sustainable solution to revitalizing our empty high streets”.

Wade has also submitted evidence to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee ahead of a hearing on October 29 to discuss the issue.  

The Federation of Small Businesses (chn.ge/12e8RQE), meanwhile, is calling for a “simple and long overdue” freeze to business rates for firms that do not currently qualify for relief.

So far each petition has received hundreds of signatures, but if any of the government petitions reach 100,000 signatures the matter will be considered for debate in the Commons.

This week the British Retail Consortium hired advisers from EY - formerly Ernst & Young - to put together a series of recommendations for reforming the system.

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