FSB and BCC call on Osborne for urgent business rates reform

With business rates set to rise by £400m, lobby groups have written to the chancellor to switch to consumer prices index as a benchmark for the rates system

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Lobby groups, representing over 100,000 UK retailers and businesses, have called on chancellor George Osborne to focus on “reducing the burden” of business rates as a matter of urgency.

Business rates are predicted to rise by £400m this year and, in light of this, lobby groups – including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) – have written a letter to the chancellor to urge him to change the business rates system following the Brexit vote.

The letter advises government to switch from using the retail prices index as a benchmark for business rates to the more commonly used consumer prices index.

It also states that the ratings system should encourage investments in machinery while also reducing the number of appeals by making the process simpler for small businesses.

Business rates are charged on businesses that occupy non-domestic or commercial properties. The property occupier, either the owner or the leaseholder, pays the business rates.

These business rates are paid to local authorities, which help finance local services – it’s estimated that £23.5m will be raised this year in business rates. In the 2016 budget, Osborne pledged to double small business rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000 from April 2017; a move he said would enable 600,000 businesses to pay no rates.

See more: How to calculate your business rates

Other signatories of the letter include the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.

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