Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 23rd October 2017
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called on the government to freeze business rates in order to provide a boost to the competitiveness and productivity of UK companies.
Roughly 75,000 companies are represented by the BCC and the business group is keen to see enterprises throughout the country given some positive news as they prepare for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Business rate rises brought about by a change to the rating system earlier this year have caused financial difficulties for thousands of companies and the BCC wants to see the government take steps to ensure that these issues will not be made worse in 2018.
The organisation expects to see business rate valuations increase by an average of 3.4 per cent next year but wants the chancellor to take action and announce a freeze on rate rises in his upcoming Autumn Budget.
According to the BCC, UK companies are badly in need of policy interventions that improve their prospects if they are to help put the British economy in the strongest possible position in advance of Brexit.
It is convinced that policy moves such as a halt to business rate rises would be widely welcomed at a moment when businesses are dealing with notably high levels of inflation and the potential prospect of an increase in interest rates.
“It would be unconscionable for the government to use September’s inflation figures to slam businesses with a huge rise in rates, particularly when they already face spiralling up-front costs,” said Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC.
“A failure to act would hit the high street, manufacturers and others hard - and undermine the sort of investment we need to boost productivity.”
Dr Marshall also stressed the point that British businesses will need government support if they are going to collectively boost growth and productivity within the economy in the coming months and years.
“The best possible Brexit deal won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if conditions for growth aren’t right here at home,” he said in a statement.
Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond is scheduled to deliver his Autumn Budget to the House of Commons on behalf of the government on November 22nd.