By Daniel Hunter

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today (Monday) welcomed the Labour party's pledge to cuts business rates by 1% in 2015, if it was to win the general election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband announced the plans and said the move would involve reversing the inflation-linked rise scheduled for April 2015 and scrapping the planned rise in 2016.

It comes after the BRC co-ordinated an open letter signed by more than 100 retailers warning that business rates could become a critical problem for businesses.

BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said:

“We are heartened that Labour has listened to retailers' concerns on business rates. As well as leading the debate on fundamental change, the BRC has been strongly encouraging the continuation of an immediate package for retailers to support the high street and it is very welcome to hear it announced.”

"UK business rates are the highest property taxes of any EU country and lead directly to vacant shops and job losses. It is widely agreed that the system is no longer fit for purpose and requires total reform.”

“We look forward to discussing the road to broader reforms with Labour as we draw closer to the election."

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