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Philip Green calls for overhaul of business rates

Sir Philip Green has called for an overhaul of Britain’s business rates system to support struggling high streets.

Green told The Telegraph the Government deliberately inflated rates despite the fact that rents were falling because of the poor state of the economy.

He called for a rates freeze and a “rates holiday” for small shop owners.

Green said the Government’s decision to delay a rates revaluation until 2017 did not take account of the fact that “the world has changed” since the last review in 2008.

He said: “In the meantime what they are able to use is a mechanism ‘uniform business rate’ and if there is devaluation or the rent moves downwards they have this mechanism where they can inflate, they can create a value of their own.

“They can inflate the uniform business rate above the RPI (retail price index), so keeping their tax revenues in line. They fix it so they don’t lose any revenue.”

He urged the Government to consider giving indies a rates holiday or allowing small shop owners who pay annual rates of between £20,000 and £50,000 to pay a nominal sum.

Green said: “Small shops cannot afford to trade. They need a bit of help.”

Separately high street retailers including John Lewis, Tesco and Sainsbury’s gave evidence to the Business, Skills and Innovation select committee, urging the government to “rebalance” the system.

John Lewis’ store manager at the retailer’s Peter Jones store Tony Wheeler said: “The Government needs to rebalance business rates to address changes across physical and digital retail.”




Readers' comments (3)

  • Maybe if certain chain retailers paid the taxes on profits in the country that they trade, the Gov wouldn't have to find other ways to bring in tax revenue.?
    Sorry. but the Govt can't afford to drop business rates (as they are just another tax) whilst we have several chain fascias parked in every corner of the UK sucking up spend and then paying NO tax on their profits. Wish I could trade like that.. it would transform my business if I had the taxes I pay still in it.

    There is still a boycott amongst thinking students on all Arcadia stores......Starbucks caved in as so many people suddenly stopped going there.

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  • Business rates are a property tax which no longer reflects the levels of business done in the world of retail.
    Just as more retail leases are being negotiated on a turnover basis so should the business rate, this would adjust the imbalances to out of town or internet warehousing at a stroke.

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  • Why should the government freeze business rates for businesses who don't run their businesses properly?

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