BRC ‘disappointed’ with business rates relief in Queen’s speech

The British Retail Consortium has responded to the Queen’s speech, praising its approach to crime and sustainability but was “surprised and disappointed” at its approach to business rates.

Commenting on the speech, which tackled issues such as immigration, crime, business rates and brexit, The BRC said: “The Government should implement policies that support businesses and create conditions for investment in skills and productivity growth.”

On Brexit concerns, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, responded to the monarchs speech said: “The Government has acknowledged the crucial need for a transition period that would give businesses time to prepare for life outside of the EU.

“However, this will require the swift negotiation of a Brexit deal to avoid a No Deal scenario that would result in higher prices and less availability on the shelves.”

Commenting on the business rates, Dickinson was “surprised and disappointed that the Government didn’t take this to bring back the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Bill that will help business’ rates bills more accurately reflect the rents they pay.

She added: “This in turn would help relieve struggling high streets and safeguard jobs and communities, time is pressing for Government to meet its promise to revalue business rates by 2021 and we hope to see this put right in the upcoming Budget.”

On immigration, Dickinson commented on “the vital contribution EU migrants make” to the retail and supply sector and said the UK needs a system that “enables swift and straight-forward recruitment across all skill levels without significantly increasing the costs of employment.”

However, Dickinson welcomed the government’s “clear commitment to tackling crime,” revealing that 115 retail workers were attacked in the workplace. 

Elsewhere, on sustainability Dickinson praised the “government’s commitment to sustainability and support efforts towards a zero-waster economy in the UK.” 

She added: “Retailers have been leading the charge to reduce unnecessary plastic in their stores, and to boost recycling rates through clear on-pack recycling labels.”

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