// BRC criticises government’s response to Treasury Select Committee business rates inquiry
// BRC made recommendations to fix what it described as a “broken” and “unfair system”
The government’s response to the Treasury Select Committee business rates inquiry has been criticised by the BRC.
The trade association made a number of recommendations to fix what it described as a “broken” and “unfair system” but said the proposals seem to have “fallen on deaf ears”.
HM Treasury’s response to October’s business rates inquiry report, published on Thursday, prioritised greater costs on high street stores than online businesses.
The government has committed to implementing just one recommendation around making the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government available to work with local governments on discretionary reliefs.
The BRC also recommended to have all business rates reliefs reviewed, reform the Valuation Office Agency and bring business rates in line with inflation – all of which were rejected.
The trade body added that the government had missed an opportunity to ease the burden on the retail sector with “short-term fixes”.
“The government’s response to the Treasury Select Committee whitewashes the many issues which were raised in its report,” BRC property policy adviser Dominic Curran said.
“The select committee outlined a number of recommendations aimed at fixing everything from the broken appeals system to the negative impact on investment, yet it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.”
Earlier this month, more than 50 major retailers wrote to the government, urging ministers to overhaul business rates in the Budget next month.
The letter – signed by chief executives of retailers including Asda, B&Q, Greggs and Ann Summers, among others – said “transitional relief” has seen the industry forced to subsidise others to the tune of £543 million over the last three years.