Ahead of next month’s autumn statement, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has submitted a plan to Chancellor George Osborne requesting that changes are made to existing measures in order to strengthen the economy.
Concerns have been raised following suggestions that business rates will rise 2.6 per cent in April 2013. The anticipated rise, based on September’s retail price index, would follow on from a rise of more than 10 per cent in the last two years alone.
At a time when commodity prices are soaring, such a hike would add more than £175 million to retailers’ bills.
The BRC has also called for proposed fuel duty rises to be abandoned and asked that national minimum wage rises remain affordable and do not exceed average earnings movements. Additionally, the organisation is asking for a one year National Insurance Contributions holiday for those hiring youngsters, and called for a reform to the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.
Director general of the BRC, Stephen Robertson, said: “The Chancellor should avoid distractions and diversions and focus on a small number of pro-growth measures that will really make a difference to customers, employees and businesses.
“Success is far more likely if the Government concentrates on delivering convincingly in half a dozen significant areas rather than trying to fight on a much broader range of fronts.”
Earlier this month, the BRC’s retail sales monitor showed that retail sales values dropped 0.1 per cent like-for-like in October. In light of this, the group wants new measures introduced to alleviate concerns.
Robertson continued: “Our six-point plan spells out retailers’ priorities for action that will maximise the sector’s contribution to economic recovery, through job creation, investment in communities and offering the best possible value to customers in these tough times.
“In particular, the Chancellor should not pile more pain onto struggling households or retailers by adding extra costs. He should scrap January’s planned fuel duty rise and freeze business rates next April.”
Image: BRC director general Stephen Robertson.