Inflation-linked taxes worry retailers

Julian Harris
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INFLATION-linked hikes in business rates will offset any gains from government plans to encourage local businesses, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said today.

Business rates are set to increase by a “colossal” 5.6 per cent in April, the BRC has warned, as it is tied to September’s level of the retail price index (RPI).

“Coming on top of a 4.6 per cent rise this year, such an uplift would make it even harder for retailers to thrive at a time of low consumer confidence and poor spending,” said Tom Ironside, the BRC’s director of business.

Last month inflation spiked, largely due to higher energy costs. The consumer price index (CPI) soared to 5.2 per cent, while the RPI touched its 20-year high of 5.6 per cent.

The BRC has welcomed government reforms that will allow local authorities to keep a share of tax income, thereby “incentivising councils to encourage business growth.”

“The review of local government resources looks at proactive ways of supporting and promoting business growth for the benefit of local communities,” Ironside said. “We ask that the government supports businesses and local authorities in the same way by imposing a lower increase in business rates for the coming year.”