BCSC 08: Leahy pleas for rates cut to ease retail pain

Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, used the opening session of the British Council of Shopping Centres annual conference in Liverpool today to call for a threefold cut in taxes and red tape by Government.

Business rates should be cut, the 2010 revaluation postponed, rates relief introduced for 'green' technology investment and for new schemes in deprived areas, Leahy told delegates.

Secondly, Leahy pleaded that the regulatory proposals put forward by Government for the retail sector, such as a new ombudsman, would only "hamper competition" in the industry.

"Retailers should be allowed to get on and focus on responding to the changing needs of consumers in this challenging time," he added.

Lastly, Government should secure reductions in the wholesale price of gas and electricity to help keep costs under control for businesses.

The BCSC conference takes place from 10 to 12 November at the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool and is attended by 3,000 retail professionals.

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