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Tesco and Sainsbury’s join alliance urging Tory leaders to prioritise business rates cuts


// The Retail Jobs Alliance, which includes Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Greggs, Kingfisher, Morrisons, and Waterstones, urged Tory leaders to prioritise business rates cuts
// The Alliance said Conservative leadership candidates have failed to prioritise the high street

A coalition of UK retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Greggs, Kingfisher, Morrisons, and Waterstones, have urged Tory leaders to prioritise business rates cuts as the most important tax cut for business.

The Retail Jobs Alliance said Conservative leadership candidates have failed to prioritise the high street.

They are urging more focus on business rates, retail and supporting the high street in the campaign.

However, no candidate is calling for a nationally-applied business rates cut so far, even while several candidates have been keen to offer other tax cuts elsewhere, both for individuals and businesses.

The Alliance has issued new analysis showing how the cost of various options for cutting business rates compares to the £17.2 billion cost of reversing the planned increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25%.

For the entire £17.2 billion cost of reversing the planned corporation tax rise, business rates could be removed entirely from every single retail property in England, benefiting 197,000 retail properties – and the corporation tax rise could still be restricted to 23% instead of 25%.

A 20% cut in business rates across all property types would cost £7.3 billion – much less than half of the cost of reversing the corporation tax rise.

A 20% cut in business rates across all retail property would cost £1.8 billion – just over a tenth of the cost of reversing the corporation tax rise – benefiting 197,000 retail properties.

For the entire £17.2 billion cost of reversing the planned corporation tax rise, business rates could be cut for all commercial properties by 47%.

All of these figures include the cost of block grants to the devolved nations as a result of these tax changes, which the devolved administrations could choose to spend as they saw fit.

Kingfisher corporate affairs director, Nick Lakin said: “The Shops Tax is a huge barrier to growth and investment for retailers and one of the biggest causes of shops closing nationwide.

“A cut in business rates means more shops, more choice for customers and more competition between retailers.

“That’s good for communities and good for jobs. It should be top of the next Prime Minister’s to-do list as our country needs businesses investing across the UK.”

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