Sunday 10 October 2021 1:53 pm

High street bosses plead Chancellor to slash business rates

Around 20 retail leaders have called for a cut to business rates to ensure the high street’s pandemic recovery.

Some 21 bosses – including leaders of Iceland and MossBros – have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and said urgent intervention is needed to protect businesses.

“There are many views on precisely how the business rates system should be reformed, but on this we are all united: the current business rates system is broken and there must now be fundamental change,” the letter said, according to reports in The Telegraph. 

Bosses said that without “genuine reform” of the rates system, many more businesses would find it impossible to occupy brick-and-mortar stores.

The letter continued: “There will be more bankruptcies of well-known retail brands, more retrenchment by retailers which do survive, more closures of hospitality venues, more boarded-up shops, fewer start-ups and whole shopping centres abandoned. Many communities are being hit hard, with thousands of jobs being lost each year.”

Results of a longly awaited review into the business rates system are expected in the coming weeks.

Signatories of the letter included Brian Brick of MossBros, Philip Bier previously of Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Gary Grant of The Entertainer and Richard Walker of Iceland.

Landlords also signed the letter, including bosses from Capital and Regional, NewRiver Retail and the New West End Company.

The British Property Federation helped to organise the letter and said the current system was “undermining town centre recovery.”

“Business rates have become so unaffordable, they are now hampering town centres’ ability to adapt, modernise and thrive,” Melanie Leech, chief exuective of the British Property Federation, said.