The chief executive of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe, is the latest in a long line of high prominent business leaders to call on the government to restructure business rates amid concerns that planned hikes could lead to the closure of High Street stores.
Having described the existing property valuations system as “archaic”, Coupe wants to see “fundamental reforms” introduced that factor in the growing impact that online retail companies are having on the market.
His comments come after business groups - including the British Retail Consortium and the CBI - signed a letter on Friday urging the government to drop April’s revaluation plans in England.
Rates are calculated by multiplying the rateable value of a property by a multiplier set by the government, with retailers in the South East of England and urban centres, where properties are said to be disproportionately impacted by the first revaluation since 2010, facing increases of up to 400%.
Coupe commented: “As it stands, we could see High Streets face serious challenges and ultimately more closures. It could impact investment in places that most need it, in areas of the country where there is already a marginal call on investment.”
Rates are also set to be reassessed in Scotland and Wales after April.