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Distorted Costs Threatening High Street Progress, Warns ALMR

Responding to the reports from Fleurets that property rental markets are seeing continued distortion, the ALMR has warned against rising costs for businesses and repeated its call for a reform of business rates and commercial leases.

Statistics released this week by property agent Fleurets show a potential distortion in the rate of new lettings due to a lack of transparency regarding new rents.

ALMR Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls said: “The costs of property occupation are the second biggest headache for casual dining and food led operators and our Benchmarking Report shows that they are acting as a brake on investment and growth. The distortions in comparables cited by Fleurets are at the root of why business rates and commercial rents are spiralling out of control and this is why the ALMR has made this a top priority in its discussions with Government.

“Transparency on comparable rents, fairness in commercial high street lease terms and the provision of timely information is not only crucial for businesses but also the health of our high streets, town centres and local shopping parades. The problems they cause are felt particularly acutely by casual dining operators and that is why we have raised this issue with the High Street Minister, Planning Minister, Treasury and business teams and we are delighted that the Government’s High Street Forum has taken on board our calls for a review of the Code of Practice on Business Leasing to address their concerns.

“Additionally, we continue to push for a reform of business rates in order to ensure the systems equality and responsiveness. If we wish to see continued investment by the licensed hospitality in our local economies, we must ensure a fair and flexible marketplace which allows them to do so.”

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