The writer is chief executive of Marks & Spencer
Britain’s reputation as a nation of shopkeepers is fitting in many ways. Retail is the beating heart of the economy and our communities. It’s the UK’s largest private sector employer: Marks & Spencer alone has over 70A man get some exercise at Ontario Place after a break during Sundayu2019s rain.,000 colleagues and operates more than 1,000 stores across the country.
Even before Covid-19The ministry wanted to get ahead of possible news coverage., though, the sector was sufferingModerna and AstraZeneca.. Empty retail space was on the riseApril 15, footfall in decline and the sector was grappling with a seismic shift in customer behaviourcontentMiddleBreakPoint. The crisis has only accelerated these trends. Thousands of shops are now shuttered and high streets are deserted. The pandemic has seen many loved brands disappear. It has also laid bare the urgent need to create a fairer and more sustainable tax system that relies less on property and doesn’t only go one way — up.
Business rates is a system rooted in property taxes of the 1600s, and have provided a source of Treasury income for hundreds of years. They are charged on non-domestic property and based on its “rateable value”, which then faces an automatic “multiplier” set by central government.