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Business rates and retail insolvency

Walking home from work last week I noticed a local book shop had ceased to trade and had written a note to their former customers, giving the explanation for the cessation of trade as an increase in business rates from £5,000p.a. to £15,000p.a. over a three year period.

The note read:

The explanation prompted me to ask the question: can local retail businesses survive continued increases in business rates or will more and more shops simply close the door?

With large retailers such as Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster already hitting the headlines this year, it is obviously a challenging time for the highstreet. Short term focus on public revenue generation, to help cut the budget deficit, could be counter productive in the medium term if businesses are forced to close, with the subsequent loss of both employment and future tax revenues. This raises the broader question of how local and national government can balance short term revenue generation with protecting the country's economic future.

 

 

Date: 30th January, 2013
Author: Henry Page

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