ICAEW calls for reform of 'inflexible business rates'

28 Oct 2020

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has called for reform of 'inflexible business rates' as businesses continue to struggle through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A third of firms say they need government support to survive the next six months, according to a survey of ICAEW members.

The survey found that three-quarters of businesses had accessed one of the government's loan or support schemes during the pandemic, while 63% had furloughed employees and 48% had deferred VAT payments.

Business was down at 62% of firms and 31% expect to make redundancies over the next six months, the survey suggested.

Commenting on the findings, Iain Wright, Director of Business and Industrial Strategy at the ICAEW, said: 'With the latest restrictions casting a new black cloud over businesses that were beginning to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic, it's clear that more intervention will be needed from the government.

'In particular, some struggling companies could fail when faced with inflexible business rates bills. Reducing the business rates multiplier would bring down the cost of this charge, and therefore lessen the burden on companies at this critical time.

'Although the whole economy is suffering, it is striking that the economic effects of the pandemic affect some sectors with much more brutal damage than others.'

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