12 Oct 2021

Bira calls for permanent reduction in biz rates ahead of Autumn Statement

The permanent reduction of business rates must be a top priority for the Chancellor when he makes his Autumn Statement later this month, says Bira.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is expected to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, setting out the state of the nation's finances.

Bira’s number one request is that the Chancellor permanently cuts business rates to help support independent retailers still struggling to recover from the pandemic, many of which are saddled with extra debt accrued during lockdown. 

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: "This could be done by re-introducing the retail discount and using that to reduce rates by 75% for all retail premises with a rateable value below £100,000. Anything less than this will put many businesses in trouble next year."

While the reduction of business rates is the number one demand of Bira, the following measures to support the high street must also be considered:

  • A continuation of tax incentives to encourage more investment in the sector
  • Renewed commitment of funds set up in March to help businesses with their digital growth and management skills; Bira would also like to see the eligibility criteria for these funds reduced as too many smaller retailers have not been able access the funds
  • A review of the current apprenticeship scheme to make it fit for purpose in the retail sector. Bira recognises the need to improve skills and a well designed apprenticeship scheme can help
  • National Insurance contribution allowances increased for indie retailers to lessen the burden on employers - in preparation for the expected rise to the National Minimum Wage next April
  • More investment in the infrastructure of towns and high streets to improve footfall and accessibility while still making strides towards net zero goals.

Andrew added: "Now more than ever, independent retailers need support and we hope that the Chancellor is listening and will respond accordingly."

Write to your MP lobbying for reduced business rates ahead of the Autumn Statement. Full story here

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