If the UK Government does not yield on demands from the retail sector for business rates reform then four in five retailers could be forced to close stores, according to new research.

This comes via the British Retail Consortium (BRC) which conducted a survey of retailers.

As many as 83% believe they will be forced to close stores if the government does not make a change to its business rates in the upcoming Fundamental Review.

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According to the survey business rates played a factor in two thirds of store closures over the past two years.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Given the retail industry contributes almost £100 billion to the economy (Gross Value Added) and employs over three million people spread across the country, it has a vital role in both the UK’s economic recovery and the Government’s levelling up agenda.

“This report underscores the urgency of fixing the broken business rates system, which currently hold back new jobs and investment.

“With one in seven shops currently shuttered, it is essential that action is taken, or else it will be our local communities and high streets which suffer the consequences.

“The Government needs to bring the burden down and take action to ensure that the system reflects property market values more quickly.

“This should include a cut in the multiplier rate, returning it to its original rate of 35%.

“Furthermore, Government should introduce an improvement relief to prevent stores being immediately punished for investment into their property.

“At a time when the green agenda is so important, it is madness that business rates should rise for a firm that adds solar panels to their property.”