Business rates

Four out of five MPs believe the current business rates system is not fit for purpose and needs “fundamental reform”.

The survey, published by the British Retail Consortium, comes after ministers poured cold water on demands for an overhaul of the rates system.

Ann McKechin, one of the MPs who believes the system is unfairly geared against independent businesses, urged Retail Express readers to campaign for an overhaul of the rates system.

She said: “It’s missed the opportunity for a much wider review of the entire taxation system.”

One positive, however, is that the Government has committed to speeding up its revaluations of properties.

Robin Walker MP told Retail Express this was a step in the right direction, but said it was important to keep fundamental reform on the agenda.

He told Retail Express: “Absolutely yes – I’d like to see the Government go further. I would rather they had included legislation for total reform in the Queen’s Speech. The next thing is to challenge each party on what they are going to include on business rates in their manifestos.”

In its response to a report by the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, the Government said last month that “reforming the basis of business rates would be a significant undertaking”.

“Creating a new tax based on sales is likely to be much more administratively complex and to have higher costs than the current system,” it said in a statement.

However, the Government has promised it is keeping all taxes, including business rates, under review.

Find out who your MP is and how to contact them here.