UKHospitality has welcomed calls for action on business rates after a Commons report found they were an ‘unfair system’ that favoured online retailers.
The report concluded that rates were outpacing inflation and growing as a proportion of the tax paid by business, with the treasury committee advising that the new government examine alternatives in time for the spring statement.
A summery of the report states: “The Government should take a deeper look at possible alternatives and prepare a consultation in time for Spring Statement 2020. In the meantime, improvements could be made, including improving reliefs, reducing statutory limits for responding to appeals, and ensuring that the Valuation Office Agency is properly resourced.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re pleased to see the committee recognising the burden of business rates has grown and the system no longer works. The current system is nowhere near flexible enough and it has directly contributed to the decline of high streets.
“Hospitality businesses are at a particular disadvantage and have been arguably hammered worse than any other sector. The current system penalises businesses who invest in their properties and actually acts as a deterrent to investment. We need a complete rethink of the system and an overhaul to bring it in line with the 21st century.
“We are pleased that policy-makers are listening to the concerns of businesses and acknowledging that there must now be action. There must be, as the committee recommends, a consultation at the soonest opportunity to identify alternatives to the current system. The incoming government must act on this as a priority. We will be keeping up the pressure with recommendations to ensure fairness for hospitality.”
The report comes as political parties launch their campaigns for the 12 December election.