By Daniel Hunter

A group of retail leaders have written to Financial Times ahead of September's retail prices index (RPI) inflation in a bid to ensure the sector's bills do not rise further still.

Text of letter

September's Retail Price Index figure will be announced tomorrow (Tues). If the Government follows previous practice and translates it directly into next year's business rates rise, as much as £200 million will be added to the retail sector's bills for 2013.

This would follow eye-watering increases in both 2011 (4.6%) and 2012 (5.6%), a cumulative rise of more than half a billion pounds.

As the sector which pays the largest share of business rates (28 per cent of the total), another steep successive rise would deal a blow to retailers' ability to invest in stores and create jobs, especially in these tough trading conditions. That would mean more empty shops on high streets and fewer employment opportunities, especially for young people.

We urge the Government to recognise that retail has already given more than its fair share to the Exchequer and to freeze business rates in 2013. It should also act on its commitment to review the mechanism by which rates are increased, to ensure a fairer and more sustainable formula for the future.

Signed by:

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium

Alex Gourlay, Chief Executive (Health and Beauty), Alliance Boots

Andy Clarke, President and CEO, Asda

Michael Green, Chief Executive, BCSC

Alan Hawkins, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group

Ken McMeikan, Chief Executive, Greggs

Terry Duddy, Chief Executive, Home Retail Group

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman, John Lewis Partnership

Martin Shuker, MD, KFC UK and Ireland

Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, Kingfisher

Dalton Philips, Chief Executive, Morrisons

Chris Brook-Carter, Editor-in-Chief, Retail Week

John Timpson, Chairman, Timpson

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