A joint statement issued by 41 of the UK’s trade associations has called on the government to reform business rates in order to help unlock green investment.
The statement comes in the lead up to COP26 from groups including the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Build UK and UKHospitality. Together they represent around 261,000 businesses and nine million employees.
The statement outlines how action by the Chancellor at the upcoming Budget to reform the current business rates system could ‘unleash a wave of business investment across key government priorities, including net zero and levelling up’.
It says that with up to 50% of business investment potentially subject to business rates, the current system actively disincentivises business investment in decarbonisation and wider investments that can improve productivity, which is the only sustainable route to higher wages.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC, said: ‘Sky high business rates are closing stores up and down the country and preventing new ones from opening. A recent BRC survey found that four in five retailers will be forced to close shops unless the rates burden falls following the government’s upcoming Fundamental Review.
‘Without change, the areas most in need of levelling will be hit hardest, and the government’s levelling up agenda will fail. The choice is clear – cut rates and boost investment and jobs, or leave them unchanged and see more shops closed and jobs lost.’