The governor of the Bank of England has gone on the record to say that business rates have become a “real issue” across the country.
Mark Carney made the statement after he was questioned by the Treasury Select Committee on whether the controversial tax on business properties was having an effect on businesses.
“The short answer is yes – yes, it’s a real issue,” Carney told the MPs on the committee.
“It’s one of those issues that is guaranteed to come up in every visit to business regional roundtable(s).”
His comments come amid a challenging period for the high street, with a string of household names this year either collapsing or announcing major restructures and store closures in order to stay afloat.
Consumer spending habits have also been impacted by slow wage growth, which has lagged behind the rate of inflation.
Carney said: “We should start by acknowledging that this country has the most competitive and in many respects the most innovative retail sectors in the world and part of the consequence of that is… consumers are well served, margins in the sector are very tight, and births and deaths of firms – even historic names – are frequent.”