high street

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for a reform of business rates to incentivise the investment needed for retail revival.

In its submission to Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee’s inquiry on high streets, ACS said rates bill increase is a major impediment for retail businesses to invest more into business.

“When retailers invest to make their businesses more secure by putting in more CCTV, or introduce a new service as part of a wider offer to customers, their rates bills go up. The business rates system can be improved by incentivising investment instead of putting an extra cost burden on retailers,” Edward Woodall, head of policy and public affairs at ACS, told the HCLG Committee evidence session.

ACS has also raised the demand in its submission to the 2018 Budget.

ACS has called on the government to incentivise investment through the business rates system by allowing retailers to defer any increase in business rates as a result of that investment by at least a year.

ACS has also called on the Government to introduce a new rating methodology for online distribution warehouses based on their turnover, with the funds raised being used to subsidise the rates bills of bricks and mortar businesses trading on high streets.