Businesses warn Hammond business rates have reached a "tipping point"

Helen Cahill
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Warnings Given As April Business Rate Rise Threatens UK High Streets
Business rates are jumping on many London high streets (Source: Getty)

Business groups have teamed up to warn chancellor Philip Hammond that the burden of business rates has reached a "tipping point" and the system must be reformed to help businesses navigate the uncertainties of Brexit negotiations.

In a letter to Hammond, the British Retail Consortium, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and others argue that the UK's property taxes are too high, and are not internationally competitive.

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The groups also said business rates must be revaluated more frequently. In April, business rates were revaluated for the first time in seven years. As the rates are tied to rents, and rents have sky-rocketed in many parts of the country since business rates were last set, there have been dramatic tax changes for many UK firms, especially those located in London.

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The letter read:

We believe that the future of the business rates system will shape investment and growth in the UK economy for decades to come. How the next government decides to address the complexity and unfairness of the existing business rates system is therefore a key question to us all.

Hammond has ear-marked funds to help businesses struggling as a result of the most recent business rates revaluation.

As part of promises he made in his Spring Budget, the City of London is in line for nearly £10m in relief funding. Westminster and Camden ratepayers will receive £19.9m and £9.7m in relief respectively over the four-year period until the next rate revaluation.

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