The British Independent Retailers Assocation (BIRA) has joined forces with a number of bodies, including the BRC and Association of Convenience Stores, to urge the Treasury Select Committee to release the findings of its inquiry into business rates. With several of the MPs involved in the inquiry moving into roles within Government, the inquiry has been held up and there has been no indication of when the report will be released or who will now chair the committee.
The letter stated:
"With high streets and town centres facing enormous challenges, and business looking to Government for support at a time when concerns over the UK’s departure from the European Union are hindering investment and confidence, we believe that it could not be a more important time for the Committee to publish its views on the operation of the business rates system. The Committee’s recommendations carry great weight with Ministers and officials, and it is vital that, notwithstanding the debate over Brexit, crucial domestic policy issues are not obscured. The prompt publication of a report would mean that it could be taken into consideration as part of the government’s Autumn Budget considerations - we ask that the Committee gives serious consideration to finalising and publishing the report into the impact of business rates as a matter of urgency."
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of BIRA said: “Independent retailers continue to tell me that business rates are causing real concerns for them. Our members have told the Treasury Select Committee directly that reform is needed and it would be very disappointing if the opportunity for real change was missed. The report must be published with clear recommendations for reform, and soon.”
The Treasury Select Committee visited BIRA's offices in May to hear from retailers about how business rates have affected their businesses.