Retailers propose business rates reform

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published a set of ideas to reform the business rates system.

The Road to Reform proposes incentives for businesses to invest in property, as well as support for the regeneration of high streets and job creation.

Potential options for further discussion:

  • Replacing the current tax system, which is based on rent, with a tax system based on measures such as energy use
  • Rewarding employment with business rates discounts
  • Supporting successful businesses with business rates discounts
  • Modernising the existing business rates system to make it simpler.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: "We have a once in a generation chance to fundamentally change the business rates system and the time is right to think creatively and in the best long term economic interests of the UK.

"These potential options would be good for the public, the economy and businesses small and large, while still providing significant tax revenues for the Government. We now intend to analyse each one in more detail and very much hope that we will stimulate discussion that goes beyond tinkering with the existing system."

John Rogers, chief financial officer of J Sainsbury and chair of the BRC project, said: "The current system is outdated and cumbersome and does nothing to encourage retailers to invest. We believe we can do better for business and for tax payers and these options represent tangible progress in the debate on what reform could look like if we think about retail in the future, rather than the past."