The ALMR has warned that government action on wholesale business rates reform is required at the earliest opportunity to support high street businesses, including restaurants, struggling against rising costs.
The warning follows a report that UK councils have enlisted the services of bailiffs to take action against 41,000 businesses for unpaid business rates bills.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The revelation that councils across the UK have resorted to deploying bailiffs on businesses for failing to pay business rates bills highlights how acute the problem of exorbitant rates is.
“High street businesses have been hit hard by business rates increases last year, with hospitality businesses particularly punished by crippling rises.
“Recent figures on consumer spending have pointed to a tough Christmas for many high street businesses. Reduced spend combined with increased businesses rates creates a toxic storm of costs for high street businesses and underlines how seriously flawed the current system is.”
Mrs Nicholls said that the government has so far only made “modest” efforts to address the issue in the shape of short-term reliefs.
“We have been promised full-scale reform of business rates twice in the space of two years, but we are still waiting for action. The government would do well to heed this bad news and act accordingly to support valuable high street businesses, not least of all hospitality businesses. Otherwise, the only possible outcome is that more and more businesses struggle to pay extortionate bills.”