Reforming business rates to save our High Streets retailers as the Chancellor prepares to scrap tax hikes
Struggling High Street businesses are calling for an urgent review of business rates to help them ‘survive the winter’.
Retail and hospitality groups, including shops, restaurants and pubs, are facing soaring costs and industry leaders say it’s a ‘decisive’ week for Liz Truss and her government.
She was forced to delay a policy blitz by becoming Prime Minister this month for the period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Growth plan: On Friday, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will present a ‘growth plan’ to Parliament on Friday which is expected to scrap corporate tax hikes and reverse the rise in National Insurance
But Truss is now expected to kick off his premiership with a package of measures aimed at stimulating the economy and averting a wave of business closures and layoffs.
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to unveil a business support package today that will cap energy bills in the same way as an earlier announcement for households.
And on Friday, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will present a so-called ‘growth plan’ to Parliament which is expected to scrap corporate tax hikes and reverse the controversial 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance.
The announcements are part of a package aimed at boosting Britain’s flagging economy, with Truss yesterday saying ‘lower taxes lead to economic growth’.
But despite expected tax cuts and support for energy bills, businesses are warning they face a ‘critical’ situation with tens of thousands of businesses at risk.
In a letter to the Chancellor, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents more than 200 major retailers, called for an immediate freeze on business prices.
The already burdensome tax is set for an inflation-linked increase that could add another £800m to retailers’ bills this year.
The BRC is also calling for fundamental reform of the tax to reduce the disproportionate burden faced by retailers.
“Rising costs are starting to affect prices,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said in her letter to Kwarteng.
“Consumer spending will be significantly constrained this winter as inflation continues to climb and energy bills rise further.”
The plea for help was echoed by a separate coalition of the UK’s biggest retailers, including Tesco and B&Q owner Kingfisher.
The Retail Jobs Alliance (RJA) has called for an immediate freeze on the tax as well as an overhaul that would level the playing field between physical stores and their online rivals.
The alliance, whose members employ more than a million people, said the tax cut will “turn the tide” of store closures and significantly boost economic growth.
And a poll for the lobby group found that failure to overhaul the tax could see Truss lose the next general election.
He revealed that a fifth of Tory voters would drop out of the party in the next election without seeing ‘tangible improvements’ on their high streets – blighted by shuttered shops after years of decline.
Meanwhile, a group of leaders representing pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants said that while capping energy prices would be a “lifeline”, more support is needed to help businesses recover. to survive.
UK Hospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and the Campaign for Real Ale have written to Kwarteng demanding a break in business rates until March.
They said: “These two measures, along with the energy cap, would give our businesses immediate breathing space to continue serving their communities this winter and avert an ongoing catastrophe.”