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BRC finds business rate reform is backed by majority of MPs

The British Retail Consortium is calling for a major reform of business rates after new research by the organisation found that 80% of MPs believe the current system of business rates is ‘not fit for purpose and in need of fundamental reform'.


BRC finds business rate reform is backed by majority of MPs

The poll also found that 93% of MPs agreed that ‘reform of business rates is an important area for the future success of the high street and town centres,' which the BRC says demonstrates the emergence of a cross-party consensus on the need for reform.

The Manifesto Milestones published today is the next step in the BRC’s campaign to see the complete reform of the UK business rates system by 2017. The BRC is calling on party leaders to sign up to reform in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

In February the BRC published its Road to Reform Report which recommended replacing the current tax system with a tax based on alternative measures such as energy use, and introducing a simplified, banded revaluation system with revaluations on a more regular basis.

After consulting with other business sectors, particularly those in manufacturing and with groups representing small businesses, the BRC says it has now concluded that there is a need for more fundamental reform.

In this latest report the BRC suggests that the total amount of business rates should be reduced, that business rates should flex with overall economic performance and should be shared equitably across the economy. It also recommending that the system includes positive incentives to encourage energy efficiency.

Sainsbury’s chief financial officer John Rogers, who has chaired the group of executive level members leading the project for the BRC, said: "Our work has brought together small and large businesses from across sectors and businesses, but particularly from manufacturing who are also victims of our outdated system of business rates. We believe a new consensus has emerged that sends the powerful message that business rates aren't a retail problem, but a business problem."

BRC director general Helen Dickinson added: "It is no longer an option to say that fundamental reform is too difficult or complicated – that particular ship has sailed. The challenge for politicians is to show us all how they are going to embrace the task of reform and deliver, with us, a system that is fit for the 21st century."


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