Policies ignore retailers’ plea for rates freeze

Kasmira Jefford
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MEMBERS of Britain’s embattled retail industry said they were “left stranded” yesterday after the Budget failed to tackle next month’s hike in business rates that they say will leave them £175m out of pocket.

Helen Dickinson, director-general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It’s very disappointing that the chancellor has done nothing to halt next month’s business rates increase.

“Freezing rates would have made a real difference to our troubled high streets and the communities that rely on them.”

Retailers have been lobbying the government to freeze the 2.6 per cent rise in business rates set to come into effect next month. This comes on top of the half a billion pounds of rises retailers have had to cough up in the last two years.

Last week, business minister Vince Cable admitted the system needed reform but said “we’re not going to change this overnight”.