Call for business rates reforms to bolster high street traders

A freeze on business rates, increased free parking and safeguards around access to banking must be put in place to help businesses on the high street, according to the FSB.

The Federation of Small Businesses has set out five recommendations to the government including a £1,000 business rates discount for shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs, to ‘provide a shot in the arm for high streets’.

Other points include replacing a rate relief rule that ‘penalises’ small business expanding into additional premises.

Current rules mean a start-up using separate rooms either side of a corridor can miss out on small business rate relief. The FSB has said this should be replaced with a personal theshold per business owner of £15,000.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “With transitional rate relief now winding down, it’s vital that businesses are given the right support, in the form of a rates freeze from April 2019 and a discount for local shops, pubs and eateries.

“Investing in the road network, fixing potholes quickly and providing more town centre free parking would make a real difference to small firms.

“We’re not suggesting there’s a quick fix for the high street, but it’s clear something needs to be done.”