Spring Fair International recognises that one of the biggest issues facing retailers is rising costs and in particular rising business rates. Retailers look set to face an additional £175 million on the industry’s rates bill next year as the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation was 2.6% in September.
Industry research conducted by Spring Fair organiser i2i Events Group showed that 72% of retailers believe that rising Business Rates are the most serious issue affecting the health and future survival of many of our high streets and town centres.
Seventy per cent of retailers believe that another rise in business rates would slow down job creation and lead to less investment in new stores. As many as 15% said that the rise would force them to close their shops according to a BRC survey.
It is vital that the Government hears retailers’ views, which is why Spring Fair is backing the Fair Rates for Retail Campaign launched by the British Retail Consortium and Retail Week. The UK has over 284,000 retail outlets and the petition has received almost 1,400 signatures; it is vital that the voices of more retailers are heard in this important debate.
This is a critical issue for the industry and Spring Fair supports all the efforts to get the Government to recognise that retailers cannot continue to absorb rising costs at a time when trading remains tough.
BRC director-general Stephen Robertson says: MPs who care about their constituencies will recognise the importance of their high streets and the need to take action to prevent more shops falling empty. They will want to avoid the blow to investment and job creation that chief executives tell us would come from a third successive huge hike in business rates.
“I urge MPs of all parties to encourage the Chancellor to recognise that retail has already paid more than its fair share in recent years and to freeze business rates in 2013.”
A high profile supporter of the campaign is Mary Portas, who has joined Retail Week, the BRC, Spring Fair and many others in calling for a freeze in business rates next year. Portas commented:
“It is down to the Government to be doing everything to reinvigorate the high street and one of the most important parts, for independents particularly, is rates be kept down. How many will be tipped over the edge by it? It is short-termism.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance is also supporting the campaign to help retailers lobby their MPs on the issue with a website, www.freezebusinessrates.org, which enables people to send a campaign letter.
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Freezing business rates would be a great way of letting firms grow, prosper and create new jobs”.
As it stands, retailers will have an extra £175 million to pay if business rates rise as proposed in 2013, in addition to significant increases they already had to face in 2011 and 2012.
At Spring Fair International 2013 you will be able to hear The Big Retail Debate, featuring Louis Agabani, founder of MyHigh.St, and find out what the Government is doing to tackle business rates, parking tariffs and the influx of out of town retail to support independent retailers.