• Thursday 20 Sep 2012

    Business Rates in the Digital Retail Age

     

     

    Our voice of Buckinghamshire Business this week is:
    Guy Lachlan, Owner of Jones & Cocks and Board Member of Buckinghamshire Business First.
     


    The retail market is changing worldwide as we move to a digital economy; British online retail sales are growing at 14% per year, even in a flat economy. Most people will argue that this is no bad thing, and that a modern retail business needs to move with the times if they are to succeed. On the other hand, the rate of shop vacancies is running at about 12% even in Buckinghamshire. In less affluent parts of the country the shop vacancy rate can be as high as 37%. Clearly this has ramifications fiscally as well as blighting the high street aesthetically. 

     

    Business Rates were introduced in their current form in 1990 as the latest method in a long line of ways to raise taxation revenue from business establishment. But as businesses move online, presumably it also allows them to migrate from a space-intensive model to a format requiring much less footprint for a given turnover, e.g. a warehouse/farm shed or even garage or spare room.