Bricks-and-mortar retail businesses hoping to see an overhaul of business rates will have to wait a little longer after the government said there would be no reform yet.

Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted that business rates are heavily affecting high-street businesses but said there would not be any changes to the system for now.

There is significant pressure to amend how business rates are charged as they represent a huge financial burden that has forced many retail outlets – especially independent operators – out of business and placed others on the brink of liquidation.

But Hammond pointed to the fact that the tax generates an estimated £25 billion a year for the Treasury and supports local government funding.

Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan MP confirmed that business rates would be scrutinised further as part of the group’s Autumn Budget later this year.

The British Retail Consortium has requested that the government introduces a three-year freeze on rate increases until 2021, while a review undertaken by retail expert Bill Grimsey called for business rates to be ditched completely.

Mark Kozo, Head of Marketing at Portman Asset Finance, said: “Business rates are a huge fixed cost that have had an overwhelmingly negative impact on traditional retailers.

“Bricks-and-mortar stores are facing massive challenges in the current economic climate as people’s shopping habits change. It’s vital that these businesses – especially small-to-medium independents – have the funds necessary to reinvent or modernise their offering to enable them to survive.”

Portman Asset Finance offers a range of finance products for retail businesses who are feeling the pinch and want to do something about it. Commercial loans are ideal for investing in areas like marketing or salaries for extra staff if they are planning to extend their opening hours. The funds can also be used to tide businesses over during difficult times.

A lease finance agreement, meanwhile, allows business owners to acquire new equipment or furnishings – such as new counter or refrigeration units, an updated till system or a complete store refurbishment to give their premises a fresh, modern look – without affecting their cashflow. Flexible repayment terms can be arranged and low rates from 2.5% are available.

If you would like to give your retail business a boost by securing additional funding, give our specialist Account Managers a call on 01604 321 995.

Portman Asset Finance