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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Business rates delay ‘reckless’ says Poundland

Discount retailer Poundland is calling on the Government to scrap the planned postponement of the business rates revaluation.

The company, which has 300 stores including five in Cumbria, says that delaying the 2015 revaluation until 2017 is “reckless” given the weak state of the retail sector.

Holding off means that businesses will continue to pay rates based on property values in 2008 rather than current values, which are considerably less.

Poundland predicts this will lead to more casualties on the high street following the collapse of household names such as Clintons, Peacocks, JJB Sports and Comet.

Ben Wall, national portfolio manager at Poundland, said: “It is difficult to understand the logic behind the decision to delay the rating revaluation.

“It will impact many retailers who are already struggling and facing financial hardship. Postponing the revaluation only serves to delay the structured recalibration of the high street, which is needed for it to survive.

“I strongly believe that the Government is making a reckless decision given the fragile state of the retail sector.”

The proposal to delay the 2015 rating is one of the measures being put forward by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

According to Mr Wall, the decision will have a major impact on Poundland’s national property portfolio and its future investment decisions.

He added: “The postponement will surely have unintended consequences and will mean that, in some situations, new-store viability will be affected.

“With each new store employing around 30 people, our ability to create jobs will be significantly reduced.”

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