C-store retailers have called for a 2% cap on business rate rises to stem the havoc caused by unpredictable rate hikes.
In the Association of Convenience Stores’ quarterly Voice of Local Shops survey, which tracks c-stores’ sales and confidence, 45% of retailers condemned business rates as a major obstacle to business success – more than those concerned about crime, taxation and obtaining finance combined. C-store owners and managers saidthat setting a limit on the annual business rates increase was what they wanted most from the chancellor’s Budget. They also asked for action to reduce VAT, currently set at 20%.
“If the government wants to have a long-term positive impact on small businesses across the UK, they must cap the rates increase at 2% – bringing it in line with the council tax cap and the government’s own targets for inflation,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “Allowing these unpredictable hikes to continue will send a clear message that the chancellor has failed to recognise the importance of the retail economy.”
The survey also reported claims that 47% of stores have seen reduced profits over the last quarter, and 32% have had to cut the number of staff hours in their business.