Recently chancellor of the treasury Rishi Sunak spoke of a new age of optimism, but according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson, retailers will struggle to share their confidence after a budget that does not do enough to reduce the burden of costs bearing down on UK shops, high streets, and communities.
Helen Dickinson said, “This budget is a missed opportunity for retail and the three million people who work in the industry, and it prevents retail from maximizing its contribution to the government’s leveling up agenda.”
“It’s a mixed bag of announcements from the chancellor, which falls far short of the truly fundamental reform that is needed and was promised in the government’s 2019 manifesto,” she said.
Meanwhile, BRC has called for property investment relief and green investment relief and welcomed both.
That will provide some supports for much-needed investment in green technology and property improvements.
“While the Government’s 50 percent bridging relief for 2022-23 may prove to be beneficial for the smallest businesses, it will do little to support the businesses that pay two-thirds of retail business rates and employ 1.5 million people,” Dickinson said.
Also, with no reduction in the burden, this will lead to the unnecessary loss of shops and jobs and fails to incentivize investment in all parts of the country. This is bad news for every member of the public who wants a vibrant high street in their local community, with retail at its heart, she added.
BRC strongly supported the intention to raise wages in the industry.
Currently, retailers are grappling with an assortment of government-imposed costs, such as higher National Insurance Contributions, higher Corporation Tax, sky-high business rates.
At a time when sales are slowing and supply chains are experiencing significant disruption, the combined impact of additional costs will add to the pressure on prices. And three in five retailers saying that prices will rise before Christmas.