Businesses in the UK have had a very difficult few years. The economic downturn, rising costs and changing consumer behaviors have all let to reduced profits and the loss of thousands of jobs across the country.
Some of the hardest hit businesses have been high street retailers. Although the shift in consumer behavior towards shopping online rather than on the high street is a large factor, businesses have also blamed the increase in business rates for these struggling businesses.
The UK government has recently announced that it will defer the review of high street business rates across the UK until 2017. Unfortunately, the Welsh Government have also taken the same decision prompting widespread criticism from both business owners and consumers.
Unfortunately, out of town shopping developments, internet shopping and rising business rates are simply making both shopping on the high street and running a high street business unaffordable. Even as things are, small businesses are being forced off the high street because it’s simply not economically viable. Those shops that do stay on the high street are the larger shops which have numerous stores across the country as well as a significant online presence to provide financial stability and control.
Unfortunately, this decision to defer the review of business rates until 2017 will mean that the high streets across the UK will lose personality and consumers will continue to find other ways to buy the products they need. Unfortunately, a wait of four years might be a few years too long.