Back in 2012, Conservative MP Eric Pickles (then Community Secretary and now a Sir) announced that a long awaited business rates review would postponed until 2017. The shock move was blasted as a ‘shot in the foot for retail’ and effectively left shops working to ‘top of the market 2008 rates’.
Over the years numerous retail and property associations have heavily criticised the postponement and now the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that more than 80,000 shops could close within two years without an overhaul of business rates.
The feared closures would lead to the loss of around 800,000 jobs, according to the BRC (reported by Retail Week) and cause almost two out of three town centre shops to close by 2017. The worrying figures have been based on what would happen if six in ten High Street retailers chose not to renew leases that expire in the next two years.
The Chancellor said he would deliver the findings of a business rates review before 2016’s budget, which presumably would come into force in 2017.