// Northern Research Group calls for business rates holiday extension & “fundamental reform” after the pandemic
// They also demand that business rates are reduced from about 50% of market rent to around 35%
// The Northern Research Group is made up of 45 Tory MPs
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under pressure from northern Conservatives to support high streets by permanently reducing business rates for retailers.
Forty-five MPs from the Northern Research Group called for an extension of the business rates holiday to be followed by “fundamental reform” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the Budget on Wednesday, the Tories – led by former minister Jake Berry – said there was a need for “levelling the playing field between bricks and mortar and online retail”.
- M&S CEO Steve Rowe warns of further job losses if business rates are not overhauled
- Treasury confirms business rates review will be delayed until autumn
- Next CEO Lord Wolfson calls for reduction of business rates
They are demanding that business rates are reduced from about 50 per cent of market rent to around 35 per cent in order to help achieve this.
“With many of our town centres hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time for a bold move to reduce business rates nationally,” the MPs said in a letter to Sunak.
“We need to make sure that once people can go shopping again, they have high streets to go back to.”
Ahead of the Budget this week, Sunak announced that pubs, restaurants, shops and other high street businesses hit hardest by the pandemic will be boosted by a £5 billion grant scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.
The “restart grants” will be worth up to £6000 per premises to help non-essential retailers reopen and trade safely, with 450,000 shops expected to be eligible.
Meanwhile, about 230,000 hospitality companies, hotels, gyms, as well as personal care and leisure firms, are estimated to be eligible for up to £18,000 per premises as they are due to open later under the plans for easing lockdown.
Separate from the Budget, Sunak is considering targeting online retail giants like Amazon with a sales tax in a move aimed at levelling the playing field as part of the business rates review expected later in the year.
with PA Wires