1. Market Data
February 18, 2014

BRC considers reforming UK business rates system

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has outlined a wide range of options for reforming the UK business rates system.

By Rohit

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has outlined a wide range of options for reforming the UK business rates system.

In a publication titled ‘The Road to Reform’, the BRC claimed that the options could assess customers to benefit from competition, provide incentives for retailers to invest in property, and support the regeneration of the high street, while creating more new jobs.

Designed with BRC members and EY (Ernst&Young), the ideas are aimed at creating imaginative and innovative debate to feed into the Chancellor’s Discussion Document.

The proposed options include shifting the basis for taxing property, rewarding employment, supporting successful business, and modernising the existing system.

BRC believes that simplification of the existing system would not be an effective action to discard the disincentive to invest in property.

The trade association and some of the business organisations said that the current business rates system creates disincentives for investment in property, paving way for higher tax on a smaller number of businesses.

The rates system has been out of date, as other taxes have been enhanced.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said, "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."

The project was led by a group of executive level members from across the industry; the group was chaired by J Sainsbury CFO John Rogers.

Rogers said, "The current system is outdated and cumbersome and does nothing to encourage retailers to invest.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."