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Iceland boss Richard Walker urges next prime minister to fix ‘outdated’ business rates


Iceland
Richard Walker.
// Iceland boss Richard Walker urges next prime minister to prioritise shake-up of “outdated” business rates
// Walker said the levy is penalising bricks and mortar retailers

Iceland boss Richard Walker has joined the call for Tory leadership candidates to prioritise a shake-up of “outdated” business rates.

The managing director urged the next prime minister to promise a “root and branch” reform of the tax.

Walker said the levy is penalising bricks and mortar retailers and, without a fundamental change, the High Street will “continue to decline”.


READ MORE: Iceland will be hit with a £140m bill to run its freezers this year as energy prices surge


His intervention follows similar calls from a consortium of retailers – the Retail Jobs Alliance (RJI) – which includes Tesco, Sainsbury’s and B&Q owner Kingfisher.

RJI members employ more than a million people – a third of all jobs in the sector. And last week it accused Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss of ‘failing to prioritise the High Street’.

Walker said reform is especially important as shoppers turn to discount retailers such as Iceland.

Iceland has locked the price of its £1 value range until 2023 – meaning it now sells the products at a loss.

“Our business rates bill is well over £40m a year. It’s just unfair. You have massive online businesses who are getting a piggyback for free,” Walker said.

Walker said business rates reform would also encourage more retailers to open businesses.

Walker said candidates should focus on business rates as they will have a bigger impact on jobs, productivity and levelling up.

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