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BRC warns over extra £190m business rates bill

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned retailers could be forced to pay out an additional £190m in business rates after inflation hit a six-month rise of 2.7%.

If the ONS Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure remains the same for this month, retailers will face an extra £190m on their annual business rates bill from April 2019, said the BRC. The retail industry currently pays out £7bn per annum in business rates, which were linked to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) up until April this year.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the BRC, said: “These figures would mean severe consequences for the retail industry, which is under significant pressure as it goes through a prolonged and radical period of transformation. Business rates are leading to store closures and hindering the successful reinvention of high streets.

“Ministers need to act to address this £190m increase in retailers’ already unsustainable business rates bill. In his autumn Budget, the chancellor needs to take action and freeze the business rates multiplier until the next revaluation to help save shops, protect jobs, and preserve high streets, and to give the Government time to work with industry to reform the business rates system and make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

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