John Rogers will chair a member sponsor group being put together by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which will include leading finance and tax figures from UK high street and online retailers. The committee will work with accountancy firm EY on finding an alternative tax system that promotes growth and has an “acceptable distributional impact” but also does not “materially reduce revenues” for the Treasury. The Treasury’s tax take from business rates is expected to increase by another 11% over the next two years to £29.6b, meaning it will rake in more than council tax and fuel duties.
Mr Rogers said: “Reforming business rates is a critical factor in achieving solid and stable growth across the entire retail sector in the future. Our research will demonstrate the continued risk of allowing the existing system to stagger on, whilst showing how a reformed system can deliver jobs and regeneration in the future.”
The BRC committee plans to present its finding in the New Year, which it hopes will offer the Treasury a viable alternative to business rates.
The retail body has commissioned the committee and EY is to investigate an overhaul of business rates that helps to reinvigorate the high street and protect jobs, but is implemented in a “fair way” for the high street and “off high street business”. The Treasury has already spoken out against an online sales tax.
Business rates, collected by local councils every year, are based on a property’s rateable value and the annual rate of inflation, which is calculated by RPI in September.
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