Business rates relief offers no reprieve for UK’s suffering retail chains

Following the announcement of Philip Hammond’s Budget today,

Patrick O’Brien, UK Retail Research Director at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The £900m extension to small business rate relief gives an estimated 500,000 independent shops a boost but does nothing for the long list of struggling retail chains who were hoping, for once, that they would have their tax burden reduced.

“Amazon is being targeted as part of the new digital services tax, where the government expects to raise £400m a year from digital platform giants, but none of that extra tax will be used to lessen the onerous rates bills that the likes of Carpetright, Mothercare or Debenhams struggle with.

“Physical retail chains continue to bear a disproportionate burden of business rates, and while the current government included a manifesto commitment to conduct ‘a full review of the system to make sure it is up to date for a world in which people increasingly shop online’, it continues to avoid tackling the issue head on.”

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