Beales boss slams councils as business rates bite
today Jan 14, 2020
As Beales fights for survival, its CEO Tony Brown has slammed local councils for their unhelpful attitudes and heavy business rate bills.
Tony Brown, who led a management buyout at the regional department store chain in 2018, said that business rate bills have been crippling. He said local councils don't care about high street retail as long as they get their money and that his firm has been paying up to three or four times more in business rates than it does in rent at some of its stores.
Hefty property tax bills are perhaps no surprise given that they’re one of the biggest sources of income for local authorities. And even if retailers continue to go under at the rates they’ve done recently, and if more and more town centre shops lie empty, the business rates continue to be paid by the landlords that own the properties.
Brown was talking to the BBC’s Today programme and said that as a retailer, he gets very little cooperation from both councils and central government. He also said that only one local authority has so far agreed to help it in its battle for survival.
He also said that most landlords (but not all) “have been helpful and they see a longer term”.
Beales has 22 stores and employs 1,000 people and has warned that it intends to file for administration if a buyer isn’t found soon. However, it has said that it’s in talks with two potential buyers.
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