Retailers including Harrods, John Lewis Partnership, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, River Island, Sainsbury’s, Fenwick, New Look and Primark, have joined forces with other retailers in an open letter coordinated by the British Retail Consortium to demand that the Government takes action to fix what they are calling a ‘broken business rates system.’
In the letter to new chancellor Sajid Javid, bosses from major retailers including more than 50 supermarkets, food-to-go, fashion, homeware, and department store retailers, call on the Government to put business rates, which taxes companies based on the buildings they occupy, at heart of the promised new economic package.
Retail remains the largest private-sector employer in the UK, employing approximately three million people. The industry accounts for 5 percent of the UK economy, yet the signatories state that they are “burdened” with 10 percent of all business taxes, and 25 percent of business rates.
The letter, which also includes signatures from other fashion and jewellery retailers Asda, Ann Summers, Deichmann Shoes UK, F Hinds and Rigby and Peller, adds that the system of business rates was outdated and harmed investment, to the detriment of jobs, and that a reform was needed to protect the high street. The retailers also added that a no-deal Brexit would put “considerable strain” on retailers who are already finding the retail sector challenging.