Industry Welcomes Treasury Inquiry Into Business Rates

PubsIndustry bodies have welcomed the announcement of a launch of an enquiry into the impact the current rate system is having on businesses, hospitality and entrée businesses in particular.

The Committee examines how Business Rates policy has changed, including Business Rates retention, alternatives to property-based taxes, such as the proposed digital services tax, and how changes to Business Rates could impact businesses.

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:

“Many high street businesses are struggling to remain competitive. It has been estimated that 10,000 shops will close this year. Unless action is taken, closures could continue and job losses may soar.

“Business Rates can represent a substantial financial burden on the high street. The Treasury Committee is therefore launching an inquiry today into the effectiveness and impact of these rates on business.

“We’ll examine how the current system is working and consider whether an alternative system, for example a land-value based tax, may help level the playing field between retailers.

“At the end of the inquiry, we’ll make a series of recommendations to Government on the fairness and effectiveness of the current system, and how it could be improved.”

Responding to the announcement CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer said:

“CAMRA welcomes the Treasury Committee’s decision to launch an inquiry into business rates. We need a complete overhaul of the system to end the current situation where pubs are unfairly penalised. As things currently stand, 18 pubs are still closing their doors every week, and the pubs that were hit hardest at the last rate revaluation are the ones still facing sky-high bills, and not getting any rate relief. We risk losing those pubs forever if immediate action isn’t taken. We will be working to get pubs to share their own personal experiences with the Treasury through the inquiry process to

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A thorough examination of the effects of business rates has been a long time coming. The system is now completely out of date, doesn’t reflect the realities of business in the 21st Century and disproportionately cripples hospitality.

“This is a positive sign that business rates is still very much on Parliament’s agenda, despite the Brexit distraction, and rightly so. Only a complete overhaul of the system – as promised in the Conservative Manifesto – will ensure high street businesses, and hospitality employers in particular, are finally going to be taxed fairly.”