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Rise in retailer challenges to rates' bills as high street troubles deepen.

Byline: JAMES WARRINGTON

@j_a_warrington THE NUMBER of businesses chal-lenging their rates' bill soared over the past quarter as retailers continue to feel the squeeze from tough conditions on the high street.

Roughly 4,000 challenges were made in the first quarter this year, a 65 per cent increase on the previous three months, according to figures released today by City law firm RPC.

The figures highlight growing discontent about business rates, which are calculated on the basis of property values and a multiplier that rises with inflation.

"The sharp jump in challenges shows that the burden of business rates is causing more and more pain for retailers on the high street," said Jeremy Drew, co-head of retail at RPC.

The British Retail Consortium last week wrote to chancellor Sajid Javid, urging the government to freeze business rate increases.

Drew added: "The government needs to go further than it did last autumn when business rates were reduced for only the smallest of retailers."

One policy area highlighted by the report was relief rates for empty properties, which RPC said could be ripe for reform.

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Publication:City AM (London, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2019
Words:185
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