Freezing business rates, increasing free town centre parking, and safeguards around access to cash and banking, are needed to help the high street, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
The burden of rising rates bills and ever-increasing rents, coupled with soaring employment costs and pressure from online retailers and out of town shopping centres, are all creating a perfect storm in our town centre, according to Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman.
FSB’s new recommendations are:
- Create fairer business rates bills for high streets and beyond
- Build an easy and simple system for businesses to appeal rates bills
- Abolish the rate relief rule that penalises small business expansion into additional premises
- Create more free parking and invest in the maintenance of local road networks, which support local high streets and their customers
- Put in place measures to safeguard access to cash and banking services
Mr Cherry said:
“Pressure is mounting. Spiralling business rates and ever-increasing rents are piling on to small retailers, hospitality businesses and others on the high street. The high cost of town centre parking, poor infrastructure, the blight of potholes and the loss of vital banking services are ramping up the pressure. We want to see Government and local authorities looking at real solutions so our high streets survive, and thrive.
Other recommendations include:
A review of access to cash and digital payment methods
A dedicated business rates appeals route
Increase funding for local road maintenance, fairer distribution of Government cash on major road network projects and improved local transport routes into town centres.