Business rates bills could rise to £170m next year

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Business rates rise £662m 2020 Chancellor Sajid Javid Altus Robert Hayton
More than 50 retailers have already urged the government to fix the "broken" business rates system.
// A 2.1% uprating for inflation would add an additional £662.15m to overall business rates bills
// Retailers would face a £169.14m increase next April despite the ongoing high street crisis
// Chancellor Sajid Javid is once again urged to take action

Retailers are facing an increase of almost £170 million to business rates bills next year, as they band together to urge the government to overall the system.

Companies across the UK are likely to see their business rates uprated by 2.1 per cent in line with the expected September inflation rate, which would result in a total increase of £662.15 million, according to calculations by real estate adviser Altus Group.

Altus said the consensus estimate of a 2.1 per cent increase means the retail industry specifically could face a £169.14 million increase next April.

The September Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, which will be released in October, determines by how much the tax paid by businesses on the properties they occupy will increase.

The annual increase will come into effect in April 2020.

It comes after some of the UK’s biggest retailers wrote to Chancellor Sajid Javid in mid-August, asking for the government to fix the “broken” business rates system.

Bosses from more than 50 high street businesses, such as Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, urged Javid to undergo “fundamental” reforms to the tax.

Meanwhile, Tesco has been quietly accumulating support from other retailers for a proposed online sales tax to balance the playing field between physical and digital operators.

Commenting on the fresh figures, Altus Group’s head of UK business rates Robert Hayton joined the calls for the Chancellor to shake up the system.

“With major retail and hospitality businesses reducing their estates and headcount often citing high level of rates as a contributory factor, I urge the Chancellor to take the bold and ambitious step of being the first Chancellor to freeze the multiplier since the national business rates system was introduced in 1990,” he said.

He added: “It would be a positive message to business from the Johnson administration and a real statement of intent post-Brexit.

“It would help all other sectors too, such as manufacturing, who are also hurting.”

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