As the impact of the Business Rate Review starts to hit high street businesses, the Forum of Private Businesses, which represents many of the independent and family businesses who will be impacted, is highlighting that Business Rates are just one of the costs that disproportionately penalises small businesses.

‘We are being told by members that they are under increasing pressure, as the costs of trading rise at a faster rate than their sales. They are coping with a number of relatively new costs, such as auto enrolment, the living wage, digital tax changes, and a weaker pound forcing up costs already, and the impact of increased business rates will be the final straw for some’ says Ian Cass, Chief Executive of the Forum.

Commenting on the BBC’s Radio Five Programme, Ian Cass, emphasized that it is frequently the smaller high street businesses that are the drivers of regeneration. Citing the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and Shoreditch in London as just two locations where independent shops, bars and restaurants have been the catalyst for recovery and growth, he criticised the regulations that are now becoming a burden to those very businesses.

‘Independent businesses lack the economies of scale that their bigger competitors have, and neither do they enjoy the rebates available to charities. They are the barometer of a healthy high street, and the current broken taxation model threatens to kill off the diversity in our high street. The Business Rate changes are just a part of the problem,’ he claims.

Calling on the Government to act, he said, ‘As the Government embarks upon its Industrial Strategy, and as we Get Britain Trading, real attention needs paying to the incentivisation for small businesses to come to, and remain in, the high street, as opposed to bringing in costs and regulations that will drive them away. The Forum is committed to supporting independent and family businesses. We look to the Government to do the same’

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About Forum of Private Business

The Forum of Private Business is a not-for-profit comprehensive business support organisation founded in 1977. Our membership is spread throughout the UK and primarily made up of companies that employ between 1-50 employees, helping them to manage employees, saving time, giving advice, support and protection where a business needs it.

We are a recognised leading authority on business issues and represent the interests of business owners on many consultative bodies. We have built a solid reputation, being influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect small businesses, and we continue to campaign for the fair treatment of businesses within the UK.

Everything we do is about making sure our members’ businesses operate profitably. This means that every penny we make goes back in to supporting our members, providing the support and resources that will enable businesses to flourish and grow.