Retail executives have urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to freeze business rates in the upcoming autumn statement.

Some of the UK’s leading retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Greggs, and Iceland, say current business rates have already put retail businesses “at breaking point.”

The letter, sent by the Retail Jobs Alliance and addressed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, urges the government to act, warning rising business rates “risk pushing some retailers under.”

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The autumn statement on Thursday, November 17 is expected to include £20 billion in tax increases as well as £35 billion in spending cuts.

The letter read: “Without intervention, [business rates] are set to rise with inflation by over 10 percent in April, the same time as the energy support is set to expire.

“Analysis from our members suggests the real-terms cost impact on shops could be up to 20 percent due to the impact of inflation and transitional relief.

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“These risks push some retailers under and will feed through to inflation.”

Business groups are urging the government to reconsider the steep increase in business rates set to take effect next April, which is expected to bring in an additional £3 billion for the Treasury.

The annual increase, which Sunak has frozen for the last two autumn budgets, is determined by the level of consumer price inflation in September of the previous year, which was 10.1 percent.

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The BRC recently warned that if business rates rise next spring, shop vacancies could begin to rise.

Source: Retail Gazette

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