Today sees Business Rates rise again, with the multiplier rising to 50.4p in the pound – meaning retailers will now shoulder an additional £200m of taxes, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which wants to see an end to what it describes as "a broken system".

In a submission to the Treasury Select Committee today, the BRC will set out a framework to fix the business tax system.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE says: “Retail is in the midst of a transformation as new technologies and changing consumer behaviour impact the way we shop. The investment needed for this reinvention is being held back by a rising tide of public policy costs, with Business Rates the biggest among these.  

“Retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business taxes and a staggering 25% of Business Rates. This is simply not sustainable – the raft of shop closures and job losses are testament to that.

“While Government fiddles at the edges, retail suffers and consumers pay the price. The Treasury Select Committee Inquiry comes at a critical moment for the retail industry. If the committee can seize the opportunity to find a way to address the madness of a system which is strangling our high streets, they can protect shops and jobs and put British retail on the right trajectory for the future.”

Since they started in 1990, Business Rates have risen +45%, from 38.4p to 50.4p in the pound, meaning shops will now be paying over half of their rateable value again in Business Rates, before they have even made a penny in sales. The BRC says that the current system is contributing to the rising number of store closures and discouraging new businesses from taking over empty shops.