The national representative body for independent retailers put business rates at the top of its agenda during a recent visit to Downing Street. The British Independent Retailers Association or bira – which played an active role in the most recent edition of Moda – met with Jimmy McLoughlin to discuss the current issues facing independent retail.
As the specialist advisor for business relations, McLoughlin was well-placed to take bira’s concerns on board. He was appointed in the specialist role having previously held positions as deputy head of policy and head of external relations at the Institute of Directors.
“bira was keen to inform Number 10 that, while there are a number of burdens on business at the moment, business rates are a massive tax on the high street, and very much exacerbated by the recent overdue revaluation,” says Sarah Arnesen, bira’s head of marketing. “We made the point that, although the government has raised the rates-free amount to £12000 with a taper run-off to £15000, this is nowhere near high enough for the average high street retailer.”
Bira laid out a new innovative approach during the meeting of an allowance rather than a “cliff edge” threshold of £12000, which would alleviate the pressure on smaller businesses. A thriving private sector would in turn enable businesses to contribute extra productivity and profit to the UK, according to the industry body.
Following the meeting, bira is putting together more detailed plans and costings, which will be revealed in due course.