Mary Portas issues fresh warning over business rates rise
Retail guru Mary Portas has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to consider reforms to business rates, including halting the rise, ahead of Wednesday’s Budget.
Portas, who launched a ‘Save the High Street’ campaign in 2012, said the impending rise in business rates will put hundreds of independent retailers at risk of closure.
“It’s imperative that Government seriously considers freezing business rates so that our independent retailers have a fighting chance of survival in today’s shaky and volatile market,” she said.
Retailers are facing a £280m increase in business rates from next April, generating additional pressure on independent retailers which are already struggling from falling consumer spending, lower footfall and higher import costs following sterling’s fall since the Brexit vote.
Recent figures have shown that nearly a thousand high street shops closed in the last five years, according to The Telegraph.
The Government announced in April that business rates will switch from being linked to the Retail Price Index to the main measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, from April 2020. This is expected to save businesses around £1.1 billion over the first two years.
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