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Business rate reform called for as industry reacts to landslide Labour election win

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s general election win, the retail industry has stressed the need for a business rates overhaul to protect high streets across the country.
Read more…

Bira calls on new Labour government to prioritise independent retail sector

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s landslide Election victory, Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association, has urged the new government to make good on its promise of change by prioritising the... Read more…

Much loved toyshop saved by owner's daughter

9 Jul 2024

A much-loved toy shop in Aberystwyth that was facing closure has been saved after the former shopkeeper's daughter decided to take over the reins.
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Inverness-based retailer wins coveted Drapers Award for Best Independent Footwear Retailer

9 Jul 2024

A family-owner retailer in Inverness, Begg Shoes, has been named Best Independent Footwear Retailer at the 2024 Drapers Footwear Awards, held annually to celebrate the outstanding achievements... Read more…

'Pay-as-you-feel' barber wins hairdressing award

9 Jul 2024

A man who offers "pay-as-you-feel" haircuts has been named the UK's best barber.
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The Times publishes its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK

24 Jun 2024

The Times has just published its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK.
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Indie retail village wins Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024

24 Jun 2024

An independent retail village in Ely that celebrates its one-year anniversary this month has won the Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024.
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Bike shop owner slams police’s “abject apathy” after three shops broken into in one night

24 Jun 2024

A cycle shop owner has criticised the police’s “abject apathy” towards bike theft after thieves attempted to break into his store for the second time in a year, on the same... Read more…

A simple comparison of the General Election manifestos

24 Jun 2024

With less than three weeks to go until the General Election, Bira has produced a simple table comparing manifestos for Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Reform UK, and... Read more…

Independents Day message - supporting independent shops boosts local jobs and economies.

24 Jun 2024

With the annual Independents’ Day weekend coming up on July 6th and 7th, independent retailers have been reinforcing the message that supporting independent shops boosts... Read more…

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Business rate reform called for as industry reacts to landslide Labour election win

Posted on in Business News, Political News

Following Labour’s general election win, the retail industry has stressed the need for a business rates overhaul to protect high streets across the country.

Labour governmentDuring Labour’s campaign, the party pledged to replace the business rate system in England; introduce a specific offence for assaults against shop workers; and reform the “broken” apprenticeship levy.

Scott Parsons, chief operating officer UK, at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said:

“When it comes to the retail sector, we have two top asks for the new Labour government. The first is to do what no previous government has been able to achieve and reform business rates once and for all, and the second is to abolish tourist tax. “Tackling these issues effectively will not only help save our high streets but it will also unlock growth across the UK, allowing us to better compete on the global stage.”

Jacqui Baker, head of retail at business advisory firm RSM UK, commented:

“While Labour have vowed to scrap the current business rates system, retailers are nervously awaiting the details on how the system will work in practice. As the biggest burden for the sector, retailers are banking on an effective overhaul that makes it fit for purpose once and for all.

“Labour’s vow to clampdown on anti-social behaviour against shop workers will go some way in providing reassurance to staff that they can feel safe at work. Crime is a growing and devastating issue in the sector, so strong measures that deter criminals and make a real difference are urgently needed.”

John Webber, head of business rates at investment management company Colliers, added: “Given the size of the landslide victory, there should be no excuse for the Labour party to avoid addressing the business rates problem or to introduce significant reform, which will help protect the high street. We urge reform, as opposed to abolition, to ensure local authorities continue to receive the stable funding they need.

“After more than 30 years of mismanagement from successive governments, we now have a multiplier which at over 50p in the pound, means a 50% tax on property occupation, a complicated relief system with business rates deserts in some parts of the country and an appeal system that’s inefficient, lacking transparency and increasingly difficult for businesses to negotiate without an adviser. The current system is just not fit for purpose.”

Commenting on the Election result, British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said:

“The country has made its decision, and we now look forward to getting down to business with the new government. Retail is an important source of employment and investment in every part of the country, and through its scale and reach can make a big contribution to Labour’s policy goals. Finding ways to unlock this contribution over the next five years should be a shared endeavour between the new government and the retail industry.

“Labour’s manifesto made some crucial commitments for retail, from reforming business rates, planning and the apprenticeship levy to introducing a specific offence for assaulting a retail worker, and we now await the details of how these will be taken forward.

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