The British Independent Retailers Association (bira) is hoping that independent retailers will not be forgotten when the political parties come to setting out their manifesto pledges.
In a press release issued the day after Teresa May called the snap election, bira stated: ‘We believe business rates are fundamentally unjust for independent retailers, and that political parties should commit to implementing a business rates threshold. This would not only benefit businesses but would also mean that the government would not have to spend valuable time rolling out schemes like the £300m discretionary fund, which will have minimal effect overall.
It was a comfort to the sector when the Department for Communities and Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said that the UK needed “thriving high streets, strong independent retailers and local economies that match the exceptional growth that UK plc has experienced since 2010”. However, this needs to be followed up with clear action if small businesses are to support the current administration through this election.’
Unfortunately not everyone shares the same optimism as bira. Miles Robinson, co-owner of the House of Cards stores says: “I don’t think the election will have any effect on business rates as successive governments have ignored pleas to reform the broken system. It brings in so much revenue they cannot afford to change it. The last round of revaluations, if anything, made it worse not better; certainly for those in the South East. I think we will get some offers of review this election, but I don’t think we will see a fundamental change to the system, I wish to be proven wrong though!”