Retailers call for tax cuts


Retailers call for tax cuts
Retailers are at risk unless the government cuts business taxes, the industry has warned.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is asking the government for a cut in business rates ahead of next week's pre-budget report.

Retailers face a 16 per cent cumulative increase in business rates next year, according to the industry body.

Prime minister Gordon Brown has already hinted at tax cuts to be unveiled next week to encourage spending and boost the ailing economy.

However, there is considerable debate on whether these would be best targeted at businesses or directly at consumers.

Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: "Personal tax cuts are not the only form of 'fiscal stimulation' needed.

"Retailers are crucial to jobs, customers and communities. In recession our role is even more important.

"The chancellor must use the pre-Budget report to reduce present and future costs."

In normal circumstances, business rates are increased each year with September's RPI inflation but this September's RPI rate of five per cent is unrepresentative, the BRC claims.

The group is calling for an affordable increase in business rates in 2009, not one based on September's RPI inflation, and the re-introduction of empty property rates relief.

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