Mike Ashley
The owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser has said some stores may have to close as a result of the delayed reevaluation of business rates.
Jane Imrie

Mike Ashley: Stores may close as government ‘kicks businesses when they’re down’

Businessman Mike Ashley has issued a warning regarding the potential closure of stores as a result of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

The owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser has said some stores may have to close as a result of the delayed reevaluation of business rates.

The statement was a response to the decision to delay the next revaluation of business rates until 2023.

In a statement yesterday, Frasers Group commented: “[The government has] buried its head in the sand on the critical business rates issue, raising unfair and uneconomic revenue sums from already distressed businesses.

The statement continued: “Not only has it has kicked the can down the road; it has also kicked businesses when they are clearly down.

“How many more businesses on the High Street have to disappear and jobs be lost before the government takes this issue seriously?

“How does the government reconcile its maintenance of a punitive and outdated business rates regime, with its predictable and devastating effect on the viability of bricks and mortar businesses, with its recent policy decisions seeking to have customers return to our high streets?”

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