Moorfields Corporate Recovery urges Chancellor to take drastic action when reviewing business rates to help retailers
Leading retail insolvency practitioners, Moorfields Corporate Recovery, have today urged the Chancellor that action must be taken to review business rates in his forthcoming Autumn Statement.
Thousands of businesses and retailers are expecting George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to address the matter in his Autumn Statement on Thursday which for many will be make or break in ensuring they remain stable and can start to think about growth plans.
Whilst some industry and trade bodies are calling for either a freeze in business rates or a 2% cap on annual increases, Moorfields Corporate Recovery are urging the Chancellor to go further if they want to help retailers get back on their feet.
Commenting on this, Simon Thomas, partner, explained, “Retailers are fighting a constant battle in a changing economy, whilst technology and the internet are constantly challenging the sector, business rates remain a significant burden for both large and small retailers.
“There is an increasing number of vacant units and with the high street slowly diminishing the government needs to do more to encourage potential occupiers to take space and remain on our streets. Having recently been appointed as administrators of Blockbuster we understand the impact that business rates can have on retail firms, even the size and scale of blockbuster.
“We believe that the Chancellor should not only announce a freeze on current business rates but an acceleration of the review of rateable values. Even if as speculated the rates were capped at 2% Blockbuster would have faced an increase of £75,000 on an already sizeable £3.8m, a figure which highlights the significant hurdles facing retailers and pushing many over the edge.
“If the Chancellor continues to delay the review of business rates until 2017 it will be too much for the sector to bear at the moment. Retail space is not as desirable as it once was and we need to take urgent action.
“We are not blind to the fact, however, that this would need to be paid for but are confident that by stimulating retail activity across the country the exchequer should increase the direct and indirect tax take.
“All in all we hope that the story of tomorrow will be of the Chancellor easing the burden on retailers and providing them with some much needed breathing space.”
Notes to editors
Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP is one of the UK's leading independent firms of Corporate Advisory, Restructuring and Insolvency Services. Our highly skilled teams include restructuring professionals and licensed insolvency practitioners who provide leadership, experience and high quality advice to companies and their stakeholders in financially distressed situations. Moorfields Corporate Recovery is proud to have been awarded Corporate Recovery Firm of the year at the Insolvency and Rescue Awards 2012.
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