18,000 retail jobs lost, 1200 shops closed since the start of the year

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18,000 retail jobs lost, 1200 shops closed since the start of the year
The UK retail sector has had a grim start to the year.
// Over 18,000 jobs have been lost & 1211 shops have shut down in first two months of 2020
// Real estate advisory firm Altus Group blames it on an “unfair” business rates review system
// Altus Group says retail premises in England will be denied a further £100m in tax reductions on April 1

More than 18,000 jobs have been lost and 1211 stores have shut down in the retail sector during the first two months of 2020.

The figures, from the Centre for Retail Research, come as real estate advisory firm Altus Group pinned the blame on an “unfair” business rates review system.

The firm added that retail premises in England will be been denied a further £100 million in tax reductions on April 1, taking the total amount to over £1.2 billion.


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Altus Group added that the 2017 business rates revaluation should have been good news for ratepayers in economically disadvantaged areas who saw their property values plummet.

However, during the fourth and final year of the business rates cycle, Altus Group said the design of the system will “continue to have an acute impact” on retail properties in areas where rents significantly declined.

Although the government’s Transitional Relief schemes can assist by phasing in large increases in rates bills over a number of years, the scheme is self-financing as the cost of that relief is paid by phasing in large reductions in bills that other ratepayers would have enjoyed as a result of the revaluation.

From April 1, Altus Group said the net loss to the embattled retail sector will be £61 million, with £38 million granted in relief through the capping of large increases while £99 million in tax reductions will be denied through the continual phasing in of large reductions in bills.

“The phasing in of large property tax rises is a good thing,” Altus Group head of business rates Robert Hayton said.

“It acts as an important shock absorber and allows businesses time to adjust to higher liabilities.

“Paying for that by denying the correct reduction on properties in areas where values are falling burdens those least able to afford to pay.

“It is a simple mechanism for balancing the cost of the scheme but it is also simply wrong and unfair.

“A small supplement on all bills would spread the burden equally. It would be an insurance premium against a sudden liability increases.”

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