The British Retail Consortium says today’s Autumn Statement by chancellor Jeremy Hunt shows that the “government has heard the concerns of the retail industry.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail consortium, says: “High inflation remains a major threat to the UK economy and we support the government’s objective of bringing this down. Inflation is making people poorer, damaging consumer confidence and holding back demand. It pushes up the costs to businesses which further increases prices for consumers. As the retail industry enters the crucial Christmas period, it is vital that inflation is brought to heel.
On business rates and transitional relief, Dickinson adds: “The announcements today show the government has heard the concerns of the retail industry. Retailers are working incredibly hard to support customers – expanding value ranges, fixing the prices of essential items, and offering discounts to vulnerable households. This Autumn Statement supports that commitment by reducing upwards pressure on prices in the short term, and helping retailers protect jobs, keep shops open, and protect the vibrancy of local communities.
“The Government has taken an essential step towards longer term reform of the broken business rates system by announcing the scrapping of downwards phasing of transitional relief. This decision means that April’s bills reflect market conditions and retailers will pay only what they owe, rather than being forced to overpay their rates bill when the value of their property has already fallen. This represents the first step towards a more fundamental reform of the broken business rates system.”