ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Although the Office for national Statistics has announced an increase in the rate of CPI to a one-year high of 2.9%, there is still a pressing need for the Government to apply this measure of inflation to business rates at the earliest opportunity.
“The current system linking to Retail Price Index, a measure discredited by the ONS itself, needs to be ditched at the earliest opportunity. RPI stands at 3.9% currently, and this could see eating and drinking out businesses facing another massive increase in their business rates bills.
“The Government uses September’s RPI figures as the basis for indexation for business rates increases the following April, even when inflation peaks around September and falls back later in the year.
“A switch to CPI, along with a cap on inflationary prices similar to that introduced during the financial crash, could help minimise inflationary pressures in the supply chain at a time of considerable economic and political uncertainty for the UK.
“The Government intends to make this switch in 2020, but it needs to push ahead right away if it wants to ensure continued investment and growth from eating and drinking out businesses across the UK.”