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British Retail Consortium: September’s Retail Price Index increase reminds of the ever-increasing burden of business rates

LONDON, 2014-10-15— /EPR Retail News/ — The ONS has today announced that the Retail Price Index for September rose 2.3 per cent. This figure is normally used as the basis for calculating the next year’s increase in business rates.

There is a clear consensus across British industry that more needs to be done to address the negative impact that the rates system is having on investment and employment opportunities.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “This is a painful time in a retailer’s annual calendar as they are reminded of the ever-increasing burden of business rates. This rate only ever goes up. Retailers welcomed the steps taken by the Chancellor in last year’s Autumn Statement to mitigate these increases.

“It is essential that business rate increases are capped again to ensure the survival of our town centres and high streets until fundamental reform has been considered and implemented. We welcome the ongoing public discussion on this issue and we note that it has been recommended that the increase for 2015 should be confined to being one per cent below RPI and frozen in the following year. We would be supportive of such measures providing a degree of affordability for businesses.

“It is worth noting that reform will take time, and business needs clarity and certainty beyond one year time horizons to have confidence to invest in the meantime. That is why we are asking politicians to commit to including a more fundamental review of rates in their proposed programme for the next government”.

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