Leading industry figures sign open letter demanding business rates overhaul

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business rates Business Real estate Tax The daily telegraph

Kate Nicholls: 'We are more highly taxed than any other property market in Europe'
Kate Nicholls: 'We are more highly taxed than any other property market in Europe'
More than 100 companies, including leading firms in the pub trade, have signed an open letter calling for an overhaul of the business rates system.

The British Beer & Pub Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), Heineken, Whitbread and Stonegate are among the signatories that have labelled the tax as a “critical problem” and said it is “no longer fit for purpose for the 21st​ century”.

The letter, which was published today in The Daily Telegraph​ and was also backed by retailers, manufacturers and property companies, argues that business rates must be revamped in order to “unleash investment”.

The Government has already carried out a consultation on business rates ahead of a planned review by 2017.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The costs of property in our sector have spiralled out of control over recent years and we are more highly taxed than any other property market in Europe.

“As we begin to look forward to next year’s General Election, all parties need to be aware that this is a pressing matter for licensed hospitality businesses. If we want a sustainable high street, then the status quo is not an option. We will continue to press for business rates reform in order to promote a fair and flexible market which allows our members to grow and prosper.”

The letter reads in full:

As the Daily Telegraph has consistently pointed out, the current system of business rates is no longer fit for purpose for the 21st Century. Business rates are higher than property taxes anywhere else in Europe and are the second highest in the OECD. This is a critical problem for all of British business.

A recent survey demonstrated that 93% of MPs agree that the fundamental reform of business rates would revitalise our high streets and town centres. Manufacturers, retailers, the hospitality trade, property, service industries and businesses large and small are all held back by business rates.

A modern, sustainable and transparent system would unleash investment that could bring skilled and entry level jobs and new and expanded businesses into our local communities.

Those who seek a competitive tax regime as a draw for investment and jobs should apply that logic to business rates.

It is no longer an option to say that reform is too difficult or complicated and we call on all political parties to commit to fundamental reform in their manifestos for the next General Election.

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