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The British Property Federation today added its weight to a new campaign to get the government to cap the annual business rates increase at 2%, in line with its target for inflation, to help struggling high street retailers.Responding to the launch of the Association of Convenience Stores’ campaign to cap business rates increase at 2%, the BPF reiterated its support for the cap which it first proposed in its response to Mary Portas’ review of the high street.The BPF also pointed out the “compounding effect of linking business rates to RPI meant they had doubled over the past two decades”.The BPF said that annual rates increases are currently based on Retail Price Index inflation figures from the previous September, meaning struggling retailers face a 5.6% rates hike in April.Separate IPD data on standard shop rents shows that while inflation has risen by 94% since 1989, rents for standard shops have only risen by 24%, and in real terms therefore fallen by 37%.Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said: “This damaging business rate hike will come at a time when retailers are fighting for their very survival. 2012 has already seen several high street names either restructure or enter into administration.“Linking business rates to RPI has meant they have doubled over the last 20 years and Government should provide greater certainty for businesses by fixing the business rate uplift each year, which we have suggested should be at the rate of the inflation target, currently 2%.”Whilst Howard Elliott of our business rates department sympathises hugely with any business struggling to pay their rates bill at the moment, he does not believe that this campaign will achieve its ultimate aim. Parliament is likely to approve the new Uniform Business Rate multipliers later this month or early in February. In early March the City of London is likely to confirm the levy charge, and any Cross Rail supplements are likely to be announced shortly by the Greater London Assembly. These two are expected to remain unchanged since this is a long term funding initiative.For further information please contact Howard Elliott on 01256 840777  


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