Mike Ashley Hits Out at Hammond’s High Street Plans

Friday, 23rd November 2018

Hammond’s business rate plans were the subject of criticism, with Ashley saying that he believes the budget was the work of a child. Ashley is the boss of Sports Direct, and has also rescued House of Fraser following the household name’s collapse earlier this year. He spoke out against the chancellor’s plans to help independent retailers.

Hammond had said in his budget that for the next two years all retailers in England whose premises have a rateable value of £51,000 or less would see their business rates bill reduced by one third. Ashley believes that the government should be doing more to help retailers, and feels that the help with business rates is just a token gesture. He has already expressed frustration about the status of the high street. He recently announced that four House of Fraser stores would be closing, and he puts the blame on landlords that have been unwilling to cut rent. He had been fighting to save as many jobs as possible and avoid conducting a round of store closures.

Ashley is due to give evidence at the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee’s inquiry into the health of town centres and local high streets, and he is expected to use the platform that he is given to express frustration at the business rates deal.

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