Retail round table meets to discuss business rates

13 Jun 16

A cross-government group that is reviewing the impact of business rates on high street retailers has held its first meeting.

The retail round table has been formed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Treasury, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department of Health to consider government moves to boost the high street.

The first meeting, chaired by business minister Anna Soubry, discussed the impact of business rates on retailers. The government is proposing to devolve business rates to local government in 2020, but has also set out plans to take small firms out of rates from next April. In addition a Treasury review is being undertaken of how rates are levied and how frequent revaluations are carried out is underway.

The roundtable was attended by senior figures from retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, the John Lewis Partnership, B&Q and the British Retail Consortium.

Soubry said the first meeting of the roundtable was an important milestone in getting some of the country’s top retailers together to discuss how to create an environment for them to grow. The meeting came after a series of high-profile retail failures including BHS and Austin Reed.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson added it was valuable to attend such a meeting with ministers across government.

“I look forward to working more closely with her and others throughout government, given the significance of the structural change underway within retail, and getting round the table at the next government retail roundtable,” she stated.

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