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Retailers fear limits to business rates reform

The British Retail Consortium and key business groups, including the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, and the Federation of Small Businesses, will meet Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke this month to raise concerns about the Government's review of business rates, which was announced in the Autumn Statement. They want clarification about the Chancellor's stipulation that the review will be 'fiscally neutral', which implies that reform of business rates will not affect the overall amount of tax raised. There are fears that this will mean there is no substantial overhaul of business rates, and there are also questions about whether the planned review refers to the overall income from the tax or the amount each sector pays. A survey by the BRC found that 53% of retailers are worried about the pressure of business rates on their operations while 74% of retailers want fundamental reform of the tax.

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