Graham Ball is the CEO of the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association. A former corporate chair of the association, his former employers include Merloni, Whirlpool and Philips. He also helped establish De Dietrich as a brand for independent specialists. Graham is an ardent fan of Northampton Saints, a keen golfer and a grandfather seven times over
Add your voice to ask for change!
Posted 21st Oct 2013
Is it just me – or does it sometimes feel like the Government is doing everything it can to destroy the country's economy, rather than working to help retailers get back on an even footing?
With the inexcusable decision to drop the business rates review this year, rates remain pegged to the property values of 2008 – in reality still at their height – and that base now remains until 2017. Crazy or what?
Big-name retailers are working together to raise the serious issue of the shops that lie empty up and down the country. Reports suggest that there are around 20% empty in the North West, while even in London the figure is at 7%. Rents for retail spaces have fallen by an average of 7% during the recession, yet business rates have risen by a staggering 27% to £7bn.
People may talk about recovery plans for our high streets, but the aforementioned figures show how some speak with forked tongues – as the increase in business rates clearly show.
When you have heavy hitters from Arcadia, Argos, B&Q, Boots, Debenhams, J Sainsbury and Sports Direct clubbing together to lobby for changes to business rates, you know there is something inherently unjust in the present system; until and unless this is addressed, high-street recovery is yet another unobtainable dream.
These business leaders have come up with a realistic plan to address these issues, and we all need to get behind this initiative. We should all add our voices to this sentiment, and you can do so by visiting www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/saveourshops
Please add your name – nothing could be more important in the battle for all our livelihoods.