In response to a report by the New Economics Foundation published on 6 June, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warned that the UK is facing a crisis on the High Street and that the odds are stacking up against independent retailers.
John Walker, FSB Policy Chairman said, "Independent traders make a huge contribution to the vitality of our high streets but town centres are increasingly dominated by chain stores and charity shops.
"The odds are stacking up against small shops and there is a real danger that independent retailers will become a thing of the past in many towns.
"Small shops trade at a disadvantage compared to supermarkets with their huge buying power, and to charity shops which are given generous tax and business rate discounts.
"On top of this since April this year retailers have seen an average 15.7% hike in their business rate bills - normally the second or third highest outgoing for a small business."
The FSB is calling for:
- Charities to be subject to the same business rates as local retailers if they sell new goods
- The current voluntary code for supermarkets to be made legally binding and to address below-cost-pricing
- Small business rate relief to be extended to all business premises with a rateable value below £25,000
- 100% first year tax relief for investment in crime prevention measures
- The abolition of upwards-only rent review clauses
BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT
Brighton is fighting hard to hang on to the independent sector that makes it a major attraction for visitors from all over the world. Traders need to support the FSB in achieving the above aims. (see FSB contact details under partners above for further information).
The Business Forum is organising a series of events to assist independent retailers including an e-commerce event in September. Watch this space for more details.
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Federation of Small Businesses