UK Retailers Demand Rate Cuts to Save the High Street
More than 50 major retail chains on the UK high street are demanding rate cuts from the government to protect themselves from growing business rates and competition from online competitors.
The retailers, which include Marks & Spencer, Harrods and Iceland have sent a letter to UK chancellor Sajid Javid to request urgent reform to the business rates system to protect the British high street and boost retail business when the country leaves the EU.
The British Retail Consortium who organised the letter to suggest business rate cuts said vacancy levels on the high street have risen to 10.3%, which is the highest since 2015.
The NHF/NBF has been campaigning hard for changes to business rates for professional hair salons, barbershops and beauty salons.
NHF chief executive Hilary Hall told HJ exclusively: “According to a recent survey of our members, around two thirds don’t pay business rates because they quality for small business rates relief. Often these reliefs are short-term and temporary so we’re calling for them to be made permanent, as they are in Wales, to help small businesses plan ahead.”
She added: “For those who do pay business rates, more than half have seen their rates bills shoot up. We’re also calling for more time for salon owners to recoup their investment in premises or expanding their business with a second set of premises to encourage growth, both of which now land them with a bigger business rates bill.
Hilary believes there needs to be a long-term solution to the unfair burden that business rates put on ‘bricks and mortar’ premises compared to online or out of town businesses.
She said: “Salon and barbershop owners can help by writing to their local MPs to get their support for our campaign.”
Hellen Ward, managing director at Richard Ward Hair Salon told HJ it is essential for professional hair salons to lobby together for a level playing field.
She said: “Don’t forget there are huge online players in our sector who are cleaning up on the professional retail market who don’t have any of the hefty liabilities of bricks and mortar salons. Until the government takes steps to ensure taxation is fair, the high street is in peril, and that includes hair and beauty salons. I’d go further and call for regulation for our sector. Until we have to be compliant as an industry, we will not only suffer from business rates but also the worrying surge in chair and room rental.”