Martin Carr, EY UK & Ireland Strategic Retail Advisor, said:
“Positively, the Government’s interim report on business rates has recognised some of the burdens on the retail sector as digital sales growth replaces declining sales through stores. This trend was prevalent before the pandemic but has advanced significantly over the last year and our research suggests that it’s a permanent shift. There have been strong calls from some retail business leaders for a fundamental overhaul of business rates to help the high street and ensure its recovery.
“Business rates could be reintroduced under a different structure when the current holiday ends, perhaps as a first step in a longer-term reform process. This may include the introduction of some form of online tax but the nature or extent of this remains unclear.
‘’But with the final business rates report delayed until the autumn, we may have to wait until then before we get further clarity. Whatever the Government ultimately decides, the sector will want to see a fair and balanced system that creates the right conditions, not only for the high street to recover post-pandemic but to flourish in the long-term.”