BRC calls for government to deliver on what will make a difference
In its report, the BRC highlighted how retailers are facing the combined challenges of slow sales growth, falling consumer confidence and rising costs. As a result, the organisation has recommended that the government concentrate on the following key areas:
- Freeze business rates in 2013. The BRC argues that the rise of 2.6% in April based on September’s retail price index would add over £175 million to retailers’ bills during “relentlessly tough” trading conditions.
- Abandon the planned 3p increase in fuel duty in January.
- Reform the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme. The BRC claims that the scheme is too costly to administer and needs to be simplified.
- Permit a one year National Insurance Contributions holiday for all employers hiring a young person.
- Ensure that National Minimum Wage increases remain at affordable levels and do not exceed long-term movements in average earnings.
- Utilise the potential growth of online retailing by reinvesting the proceeds of the forthcoming 4G auction in the roll-out of high speed broadband.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “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.
“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.”
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