BRC calls on parties to fix “broken” rates system ahead of general election

The chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on political parties to commit to policies which will “revive” the UK’s shopping destinations and fix the “broken” business rates system.

Helen Dickinson warned that the existing business rates system, alongside planning laws, are “holding back the industry”.

“With an election only five weeks away, political parties have a role to play too by having policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations across the UK,” continued the chief exec.

She went on to say that politicians of all stripes must begin to address these issues.

“This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations,” Dickinson added.

Speaking at the Retail Technology Show in London last month, Dickinson said that policy making had become very short term and “politically-driven”.

Organisations like the BRC have "ended up in a fight" over details when trying to engage with the government, she said.

“What we want from the next government, whoever it may be, is a different relationship,” she said.

The BRC, which represents over 200 major retailers in the UK, announced that footfall covering the four weeks to 25 May 2024 in the UK decreased by 3.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Of the four nations, Scotland saw the biggest fall in shoppers with numbers declining by 5.4 per cent over the same time frame.

Commenting on the figures, Dickinson said: “Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.”

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