THE boss of the revived Beales has said high street businesses should no longer have to pay punishing rates bills.

Shops and hospitality businesses are currently enjoying a “holiday” from business rates – but the break is due to run out at the end of March.

Tony Brown runs New Start 2020, which last year bought the Beales brand name from administrators and reopened its Poole store.

He said the rates bill for the shop in the Dolphin Shopping Centre would be “the best part of a quarter of a million pounds” a year.

Beales in the Dolphin Shopping Centre reopens

Covid restrictions have already caused retailers to miss most of their “golden quarter”, which includes Christmas and the new year.

“I think it would be folly if they tried to reintroduce rates in the next 12 months, particularly in hospitality and retail,” said Mr Brown.

“The golden quarter, which has now gone, is the one time you make serious money.

“It would be folly to introduce rates again but this does give the government the opportunity to revisit the whole rating system.”

Beales administrators preparing to close all its stores

Business rates were among the reasons for the collapse of the original Beales department store chain last year. The company’s flagship Bournemouth store attracted a rates bill of £440,000 a year.

The rates are set by the Treasury but collected by local councils on the government's behalf.

Mr Brown said the government should “tax where the money is” by collecting more from the online giants who were “raking it in”.

Beales boss happy with performance

He added: “There needs to be a proper working party of individuals saying ‘How do we fund local government without relying on the golden goose?’ because the golden goose is not in a good way at the moment.”

Naked Coffee store opens in Beales in Poole

The industry group UKHospitality has also called for another business rates holiday covering the 2021-22 financial year.

The Confederation of British Industry has also called for an extended break and called for further furlough support.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said the industry had “lost around 650,000 jobs” due to the impact of the pandemic.

“Thankfully, many more businesses have managed to adapt and are still managing to cling on, keeping jobs safe and giving their staff, customers and communities hope that they will be able to reopen once the vaccine rollout makes it safe to do so,” she said.

“A wide-ranging package of financial support will give hospitality businesses the best chance of not just surviving the remainder of the crisis but leading the UK’s economic recovery in the years ahead."