Independent retailers have called on the government to use the snap General Election as an opportunity to rectify business rates and better support small business owners.
In the wake of Theresa May’s shock announcement on Tuesday, which revealed an election will take place on 8 June – three years ahead of schedule – retailers said it gave politicians across the parties a chance to completely reformulate policies which hit small businesses the hardest.
Amit Odedra, of One Stop in Peterborough, said he wants to see a system where independent business don’t unfairly bear the brunt of wage and rates hikes.
“I’d like to see a little bit more compassion for small business, not just the big guys,” said Mr Odedra.
“We pay our taxes and rates just like the big guys – in many cases more than they do – but they get all the relief.
“It needs to be a fairer system and a level playing field for everybody, not just making the small guys suffer with the National Living Wage and business rates.”
Linda Sood, of Falcon News, Portsmouth, said: “Retail crime, business rates, support for the high street, minimum wage – it’s getting harder and harder for all independent retailers. Politicians really need to think hard about how they’re going to help the ones that are left.”
Danny Wilson, of eight One Stops in and near Scarborough, said an early election provides politicians with a chance to “completely rethink policies”.
Paul Turner-Mitchell, from rates specialist CVS, said: “The issue of business rates has caused a lot of widespread resentment and anger.
“Now is the time to sort this out – small businesses are struggling with the burden of rates and other things and they want to see a system of business rates and taxation which is fair and fit for purpose.”
Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, said: “Over the coming weeks we will be urging members to contact their local candidates and put the case forward for independent retailers.”