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AIMp joins high street retailers to demand for business rates relief

The government should waive business rates for high street retailers – including pharmacies – from next month, the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) and a raft of retail representatives have argued.

Businesses should be relieved from paying the tax on their properties from October 1 until March 31 next year, the organisations suggested in a letter – seen by C+D – sent to prime minister Liz Truss last week (September 21).

This measure would “help high street businesses cope with significant and immediate cost pressures they face”, the signatory organisations – which include the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Independent Retail Association – wrote.

Headline VAT should be reduced for retailers, which in turn would help reduce “costs for low-income households through the winter [while] driving spend for struggling businesses”, they suggested.

Read more: AIMp calls for business rate exemption as end of 66% discount looms

The government should also make the VAT rate the same as that for domestic energy bills, they added.

“This package of measures would not only be vital for high street business survival, but it would also protect vital jobs at a time when people cannot afford to be made redundant. It would also limit inflation for hard-pressed households,” they stressed.


AIMp: “Louder together”


AIMp is “working closely with representatives from other sectors across the country” to ensure pharmacy businesses get the support they need, CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D today (September 27). “We are asking the government to action this as soon as possible.”

 Dr Hannbeck said: “Our voice is louder together.”

However, unlike other retailers, pharmacies “cannot pass” their costs on to patients as “over 90% of independent pharmacies’ activities are NHS-related” – even though the NHS has drastically reduced pharmacy funding over the past few years, she added.

It is therefore “essential” that community pharmacies are exempted from paying business rates, she stressed.

Dr Hannbeck continued: “At a time where businesses are suffering because of the higher costs of living, and in the case of pharmacy an inadequate year 4-5 funding deal that was recently announced by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), pharmacy businesses need any support they can get,” Dr Hannbeck said.

Read more: Pharmacy bodies blast ‘devastating’ English funding deal

PSNC has defended the package it agreed with the government on years 4 and 5 of the English community pharmacy funding deal. Although the government has not proffered any more core funding for the sector, it has waived £100 million in excess margin and agreed to commissioning a national contraception service, the negotiator pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed to C+D last week (September 22) that pharmacies in England, Scotland and Wales can expect to see their energy prices capped at “less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter”.

The measure follows concerns previously raised by pharmacy owners and PSNC of spiralling energy costs


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