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The profitability of owning a brick and mortar store has greatly diminished, e-commerce has proven itself to be a powerful competitor and tough business costs have increased the pressure on individual business owners. The so-called retail apocalypse has befallen British high streets, and the resulting damage to profits and turnover have shaped an inhabitable environment for retailers.
According to new research by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), one in three small businesses has seen an increase in their rates bills since the last revaluation in 2017. Ruth George, Labour MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group discussed the research in the debate, also identifying the unnecessarily complex check, challenge appeal system. Recent reforms such as the removal of many free to use cash machines have further damaged vulnerable small business finances.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and need support from the government as well as from within the business community. Various appeal initiatives from the government have merely confused businesses further, and they require instead help and advice on their finances. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services free up cash flow for our small business Members as well as conduct credit checks to keep their position on the high street secure.
St Ives MP Derek Thomas further highlighted the inequalities in the rates system for businesses that otherwise appear very similar, referencing several examples from his constituency where neighbouring businesses of the same size were paying vastly different rates bills.
During the debate, there was also broad consensus from the politicians that something needs to be done to redress the balance between online retailers and their high street counterparts, but that the exact way of achieving that balance was yet to be decided.
“This debate highlighted these issues, and the government needs to look closely at ways to incentivise investment through the rates system instead of penalising retailers who are trying to improve their business”, said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.
James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said: “For thousands of convenience stores, business rates are a significant cost that can impact decisions on investment and in some cases affect the overall viability of the business.
Here at CPA, we fight to the tooth for our members, particularly those who have suffered through tough business costs or other unaffordable fees. We believe small businesses deserve support and identify late payment as their deadliest enemy. We recently created a new department within our company dedicated to getting our members rightly compensated in accordance with the Late Payment of Commerical Debts (Interest) Act 1998. This has unlocked hidden cash and potential for our members and brightened their prospects and longevity on the high street.
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