Chancellor told to act on business rates rise

Chancellor Phillip Hammond is being urged to take urgent action to halt a proposed rise in business rates.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI), which is used to determine the increase in business rates in April 2018, rose to 3.9% last week.

But the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) claimed it would be "unconscionable" for the chancellor to raise rates in line with the latest RPI figures, which were released in September 2017.

The proposed increase may be the final nail in the coffin for many struggling business owners, who could be burdened with an extra £250 million in business rates if the rise takes effect.

Adam Marshall, director-general of the BCC, is urging Mr Hammond to act before he delivers his first Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017.

Dr Marshall said:

"It would be unconscionable for the government to use September's inflation figures to slam businesses with a huge rise in rates, particularly when they already face spiralling up-front costs.

"A failure to act would hit the high street, manufacturers and others hard - and undermine the sort of investment we need to boost productivity."

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