Britain’s biggest retailers team up to demand a cut in business rates to help keep prices down for customers
A group of the UK’s biggest retailers have teamed up to fight for an overhaul of widely hated business rates.
Firms including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, B&Q owner Kingfisher and Greggs have written to the Chancellor calling on him to ‘Cut the Shops Tax’.
They want Rishi Sunak to permanently cut business rates to ‘level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers’. The cost to the Government would be offset by an online sales tax.
Rates burden: Firms including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, B&Q owner Kingfisher and Greggs have written to the Chancellor calling on him to ‘Cut the Shops Tax’
Members of the Retail Jobs Alliance (RJA) employ more than a million people in the UK – a third of all jobs in the sector.
It was formed to put pressure on Sunak ahead of the Autumn Budget after he failed to revamp the tax in March.
The RJA says a cut in business rates will help to keep prices down for customers as the cost of living soars.
The Mail’s Save Our High Streets campaign has called for a level playing field between traditional shops and online rivals.
The letter to Sunak, signed by 11 leaders including Tesco boss Ken Murphy, said: ‘A meaningful cut in the shops tax would make a big difference to retailers’ ability to invest more in the shops and stores we know customers value, as well as create jobs.’
A study last year by consultancy WPI Strategy found the business rates burden is highest in areas targeted by the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
Retailers said any cut in business rates would ‘boost the social fabric of our villages, towns and cities’.
Business rates are charged on shops, restaurants, pubs and other business properties based on their rental value.
In March, the Chancellor promised an overhaul of the tax this autumn, but business leaders urged him to act faster.
In February the Treasury launched a consultation into an online sales tax as a way to rebalance the tax burden between online and physical retailers.