Ask any business with shop floor space what they’d like to see change and it’s highly likely that cuts to business rates would top the list. Online shopping has helped deliver cheaper prices for consumers, but many customers like to visit shops and we will continue to make the case for cuts to ensure that shopkeepers can keep their doors open.
With high streets across the UK in steady decline, in November 2012, we launched a dedicated Freeze Business Rates campaign to urge the Chancellor to give high streets a much needed break. We held action days in Bath, Grantham, Goring on Thames, Cottingham and Southend to help support local businesses.
We also campaigned against empty property rates as part of this effort. Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown had decided that businesses had to pay full business rates on an empty commercial property just three months after it became vacant. That was too short a window for many businesses to either sell the property or find new tenants, and in many cases it led to a much more destructive decision – tearing down the property.
After research and campaigning by the TPA the 2013 Autumn Statement pledged to cap the increase in business rates in England, introduce a discount of £1,000 and double small business rate relief for another 12 months.
But we don't feel that went far enough.
At a time when headlines tell us that we must support our local stores, we still ask why business rates creates a blanket charge whether or not businesses are making the money to pay them? On top of all the other costs of setting up a business these costs are sometimes unaffordable, so we will continue to campaign for further changes to business rates to help British businesses.
You can read our research on business rates here:
You can read more of our blogs on the issue here: