The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government to re-think its business rates increase and has asked the Chancellor George Osborne to prevent any rise costing more than £35 million to the convenience store sector.
ACS is calling for the increase scheduled for April 2012 to be reduced to two per cent and is recommending that the rate of increase is brought in line with the government’s target rate of inflation.
The annual increase in business rates is brought in every year in line with the retail prices index from September the previous year, meaning the jump next year would be a huge 5.6 per cent.
Osborne is expected to outline the increase in his Autumn Financial Statement on November 29th 2011 and ACS is calling on retailers to write to MPs asking them to back the call.
“This rates increase is a significant threat to achieving the Chancellor’s hope for growth and job creation in the convenience store sector,” ACS CEO James Lowman said.
“He must act quickly to reassure businesses that he will not impose it. Given that the inflation target is two per cent it should be this that determines increases in business taxation.
“We believe that this is a sensible, proportionate and necessary way to provide real support to businesses that are vital to the economic recovery.”
The pro forma letter for retailers is available to download on the ACS website.
Last week, ACS warned that further minimum wage increases will results in jobs losses and decreased hours for retail staff, and set up an independently-facilitated focus group to explore retailers’ responses to the National Minimum Wage in detail.
The association believes that its proposed reduction on business rates would save the convenience sector over £20 million, meaning much higher savings for the wider small business community.
“Retailers who will be affected by this have to speak out and make sure the politicians understand why the Chancellor must act,” added Lowman.