Health Stores UK* has the urged the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to honour his pledge to protect local high streets by cutting the so-called ‘Shops Tax’.
During the summer, the former Chancellor said in hustings that “supporting local streets and town centres is top of my mind”. Declaring that “these (retail) communities need support”, he added: “It’s the Conservative thing to do to make sure our communities are strong. The best way to help them is through business rates. That’s what I did as chancellor and that’s what I’ll do as Prime Minister.”
Congratulating Rishi Sunak on becoming Prime Minister, Health Stores UK co-chair Len Glenville said: “We hope that the new Prime Minister will work with his Cabinet colleagues to stabilise the economy and end the prolonged period of uncertainty businesses have endured. Specifically, we urge Rishi Sunak to honour the pledge he made recently to cut business rates for retailers. As it stands, small retailers face the prospect of a 50% increase in business rates from April next year, when the current rates relief scheme ends. Combined with soaring energy prices and other rising business costs, this presents an existential threat for many independent bricks and mortar retailers. To avert this the government must now prioritise fundamental changes to the ‘Shops Tax’.
“We call on the Prime Minister to implement a permanent reduction in business rates to protect businesses that provide so much value to local economies and communities”.
*Health Stores UK is the new name for the National Association of Health Stores