Spring Fair International has thrown its weight behind the Fair Rates for Retail campaign and helped deliver a major boost in petition signatures.
Organised by the British Retail Consortium and Retail Week magazine, the campaign calls for a freeze in the business rates paid by retailers together with a change in the way they are calculated. This follows two years of huge increases that have added over £0.5bn to their rates, and with the prospect of a further increase of £175m from next year.
In September, Spring Fair organiser i2i Events Group conducted a poll of around 1,000 retailers, 72% of whom said that rising business rates was the most serious issue affecting the health and future survival of many of our high streets and town centres.
Spring Fair managing director Louise Young said it was “clear that the rising costs of business rates, unfairly borne by retailers, are having a terrible effect on the viability of so many retailers – many that are the lifeblood of high streets up and down the country”.
Since the show emailed its retailer database, the number of petition signatures has jumped by nearly 50% to over 1,300.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, commented: “It’s great to see support growing for this crucial campaign…Imposing a substantial business rates hike for the third year running can only lead to more empty shops on high streets and fewer chances of work, especially for young people.”
He added: “Anyone who shares our concerns can use www.freezebusinessrates.org to write to their local MP and ask them to support calls for the government to freeze rates next year.”