A group of UK’s biggest retailers warns that the two Conservative leadership candidates must pledge to cut business rates
- Retail Jobs Alliance: Candidates to be PM have ‘failed to prioritize high street’
- They must come up with ‘serious proposals’ to support shops across the country
- RJA also formed to fight for an overhaul of the widely hated business rates system
The two Conservative leadership candidates must pledge to cut business rates, a group of the UK’s biggest retailers has warned.
The Retail Jobs Alliance (RJA), representing firms including Tesco and B&Q owner Kingfisher, said candidates to become the next Prime Minister have ‘failed to prioritize the high street’.
They must come up with ‘serious proposals’ to support shops across the country being hamstrung by the so-called ‘shops tax’, he said.
Head-to-head: The Retail Jobs Alliance says Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak must come up with ‘serious proposals’ to support shops across the country
The RJA also includes Greggs, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s and was formed to fight for an overhaul of the widely hated business rates system. Members employ more than a million people in the UK – a third of all jobs in the sector.
As Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss go head-to-head to succeed Boris Johnson, the RJA called on the pair to put cutting business rates at the ‘top of their to-do list’. The RJA’s call came after The Mail on Sunday revealed companies are facing a £22billion tax bombshell from an increase in business rates due to soaring inflation, which the Bank of England has predicted will hit 11 per cent this year.
As Chancellor, Sunak oversaw a review into business rates, but there were no sweeping reforms to the levy.
Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has promised to reform business rates so that they reward investment if she becomes Prime Minister.
Business rates are charged on shops, restaurants, pubs and other business properties based on their rental value. Critics of the tax say it holds back investment as it is charged regardless of how much profit a business makes, unlike corporation tax.
In an analysis seen by the Daily Mail, the RJA found cutting business rates would cost ‘substantially less’ than scrapping the planned 6 per cent increase to corporation tax.
And the RJA found that the tax could be removed from all 197,000 retail properties in England for less than the cost of scrapping the planned rise.
It also found the tax could be cut in half for all commercial properties across the UK for the same amount as scrapping the corporation tax rise.
The campaign group argues Sunak and Truss should prioritize cutting business rates as this would ‘do the most’ to boost investment and job creation and revitalize communities across the country.
A Retail Jobs Alliance spokesman said: ‘The next Prime Minister could introduce a tax cut that retailers have been crying out for for years, and have a transformative impact on our high streets – especially in the areas most in need of leveling up.’