Autumn Budget: What will tomorrow’s announcement mean for retail?
The UK retail sector and wider business community are looking to the Chancellor for an early Christmas present at the Budget on Wednesday by limiting the massive 3.9% RPI increase in rate bills that are planned to take place next April.
Tim Beattie, Head of Rating at JLL UK gives Business Leader his thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s Autumn Budget announcement.
The Chancellor must take the opportunity to do the right thing on Wednesday and bring forward the alignment of business rate increases with the CPI, previously scheduled for 2020, by at least two years.
Retailers are being hit hard and following a 0.3% fall in October sales according to the ONS and a disappointing sales forecast for Christmas, the last thing they need is another hammer blow.
It’s the Government’s duty to ensure that this doesn’t happen when retailers can least afford it.
We are also urging the Chancellor to avoid giving with one hand and taking with the other by simply capping the small rate multiplier to CPI inflation and allowing the large rate supplement to increase significantly above inflation.
By capping all multipliers and supplements, the whole of the UK plc can gain some control over the relentless and crippling rise in rates that has occurred over the last decade.
The Government also needs to focus on the wider business rate system and shelve the disastrous Check Challenge Appeal process which is still not fit for purpose seven months into the 2017 revaluation.
The Government’s election manifesto pledged to reduce red tape for businesses so axing this time consuming and quite frankly, needless process would be a huge step forward. Let’s hope the Chancellor delivers some real solutions this time round rather than offering small and ineffective gestures.