The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Booksellers for Business Rates Reform

08/06/2018
Booksellers for Business Rates Reform
The Booksellers Association is launching a campaign calling on the Government to recognise the community and cultural value of bookshops in the UK by giving them the same business rates relief enjoyed by pubs.
 
Launching the campaign at a World Book Day event at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 12th June, the BA’s President, independent bookseller, Nic Bottomley is calling on the Government to offer a £1,000 business rates discount to bookshops with a rateable value under £100k, on the grounds that bookshops and pubs have a similar status in the UK, being community hubs that drive social cohesion, and cultural spaces beyond their immediate remit.
 
The BA will launch a petition calling on the Government to offer bookshops business rates relief on Monday 18th June – during Independent Bookshop Week – as a call to arms to members of the public to support their local bookshop.
 
Meryl Halls, MD at the BA, said: “We know from our members that business rates are one of the biggest and most problematic costs to bookshops, who are already running on very thin margins.  With today’s announcement, we aim to make ever clearer to government the clear link between bookshops and healthy communities and thriving and diverse high streets – and to make sure that the Government acknowledges – as it has already for pubs – the crucial role that bookshops play in the cultural, social and economic landscape of their communities, by granting them the same exemptions as pubs have received.
 
This exemption will cost local authorities relatively modest amounts but could make the difference between a community having a bookshop or not. So, we urge government to invest in the bookshops of Britain, and ensure that we lose no more of these crucial cultural assets off our high streets.”
 
Since 1995, when Amazon was first formed, over half the UK’s bookshops have closed their doors. Last year’s Bookselling Britain report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research [“CEBR”] demonstrated that the bookselling sector contributes up to £1.9 billion to GDP to the UK economy each year, providing 46,000 jobs and making an estimated contribution to the UK Exchequer of £131million in taxes.