Dow Jones Newswires: U.K. retailers group calls for business rates freeze to support investment, protect consumers

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Stock Market

The U.K. government should freeze business rates to support investment and help keep prices low for consumers, the British Retail Consortium has said ahead of a planned 800 million-pound ($930.2 million) increase from April. The trade association for U.K. retailers’ Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said Friday that the operating costs for businesses remain high and demand will be tested by the fragile economy and falling consumer confidence ahead of the Christmas period.

An increase in rates, as retailers are also facing higher costs, would force businesses to make decisions on new store investments and the closure of existing locations, she added. Systemic reform should also be undertaken, Ms. Dickinson said. The British Retail Consortium’s chief executive called on the U.K. government to make the changes as the industry body released statistics for the third quarter of 2022 that showed the overall shop vacancy rate decreased to 13.9%, 0.1 percentage points better than the prior quarter and 0.6 percentage points better on year. The outturn marked the fourth consecutive quarter of falling vacancy rates. All locations saw improvements in the quarter, the BRC said. Shopping-center vacancies fell to 18.8% from 18.9% in the second quarter, high-street …

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