BMA among 40 trade associations to join CBI in call for business rates reform

The BMA has joined with 40 other trade associations to back the CBI’s call to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reform business rates in the next Budget.

The Government has confirmed that there will be policy announcements this autumn as part of the long-awaited reform to the business rates system.

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the other trade associations lobbying for reforms represent more than 261,000 businesses and nine million employees.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has criticised the current business rates system as uncompetitive, unproductive and unfair and has issued a joint statement to the Chancellor (pictured), along with 40 other trade associations, including the BMA and British Retail Consortium. This outlines how the right action in the Budget and reform to the business rates system could unleash a wave of business investment in some of the Government’s priority areas, such as net zero and levelling up.

The CBI pointed out that half of UK business investment is potentially subject to business rates and that the current system gives no incentive for investment in decarbonisation or wider investment that could improve productivity.

Speaking about the decision to back this lobby for business rates reform, BMA chief executive Tom Reynolds said: “The reason we’re supporting this statement calling for business rate reform is not only because of the benefits to our own members’ businesses. A more sensible approach to rates would greatly benefit our channel partners in independent retail. When KBB retailers have the conditions to thrive, so do suppliers.” 

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said: “Action to get investment flowing into and around the UK is sorely needed to reinforce our recovery. The Chancellor has an opportunity to fix this, starting with fundamental business rates reform at the Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review. By setting out an approach that attracts investment, he can equip the UK with the tools it needs to secure the high-wage, high-productivity and high-skill economy of the future.”

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The CBI statement called for the Government to act now to:

• Reduce the overall burden of the business rates system to unlock business investment in net zero and support levelling-up;

• Increase the frequency of business rates revaluations and ensure rates adjust quickly to economic changes to ensure business rates reflect firms’ ability to pay, and;

• Create a ‘Greener’ business rates system to support the Government’s net zero ambition.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “Sky-high business rates are closing stores up and down the country and preventing new ones from opening. A recent BRC survey found that four-in-five retailers will be forced to close shops unless the rates burden falls following the Government’s upcoming Fundamental Review. Without change, the areas most in need of levelling will be hit hardest, and the Government’s levelling up agenda will fail. The choice is clear – cut rates and boost investment and jobs or leave them unchanged and see more shops closed and jobs lost.”

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