A group of Britain’s biggest retailers warns the two Conservative leadership candidates must promise to cut business rates
- Retail Jobs Alliance: PM candidates ‘failed to prioritize high streets’
- They must come up with “serious offers” to support stores across the country
- The RJA is also set up to fight for an overhaul of the widely hated business rates system
A group of Britain’s biggest retailers has warned that the two Conservative leadership candidates must promise to cut business rates.
The Retail Jobs Alliance (RJA), which represents firms including Tesco and B&Q owner Kingfisher, said the prime ministerial candidates had “failed to prioritize the high street”.
They must come up with “serious proposals” to support shops across the country suffering from the so-called “shops tax”, it said.
Meeting: Retail Jobs Alliance says Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak must make ‘serious proposals’ to support stores across the country
The RJA also includes Greggs, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s and was set up 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 battle it out to succeed Boris Johnson, the RJA has urged them to put business rate cuts at the “top of their to-do list”. The RJA’s call comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed that companies face a £22bn tax bomb from rising business rates due to a sharp rise in inflation, which the Bank of England predicts will reach 11 percent.
As chancellor, Sunak presided over a review of business rates, but there were no fundamental reforms in the levy.
Foreign Secretary Truss has promised to reform business rates to reward investment when she becomes prime minister.
Commercial service rates are charged to shops, restaurants, pubs and other commercial properties depending on the rental value. Critics of the tax say it discourages investment because it is levied regardless of how much profit a business makes, unlike corporate tax.
In an analysis seen by the Daily Mail, the RJA found that cutting rates for businesses would cost “significantly less” than scrapping the planned 6 per cent rise in corporation tax.
And the RJA found that the tax could be scrapped from all 197,000 shops in England for less than the cost of scrapping the planned growth.
It also found that tax could be halved for all commercial property in the UK for the same amount as the repeal of the rise in corporation tax.
The campaign group says Sunac and the Trust should be prioritized for cutting business rates as it would “do the most” to boost investment and create jobs and revitalize communities across the country.
A spokesman for the Retail Jobs Alliance said: “The next Prime Minister could deliver the tax cuts that retailers have been calling for for years and have a transformative impact on our high streets – especially in areas most in need of a lift.”