Keep business rates and minimum wage under control urges BRC
The British Retail Consortium has published new research demonstrating the importance of retail in kick-starting economic growth and has called for the government to abandon planned fuel tax increases and to keep business rates and the minimum wage "under control".
The 'UK Retailing: Leading Globally, Serving Locally' report produced for the BRC by Oxford Economics and the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, calls for the Chancellor George Osborne to take urgent action to implement a credible plan for economic growth in which retail can power the recovery.
The report, which has been issued the day before the Chancellor delivers his Autumn Statement, shows how the sector makes a major contribution to the economy with £292 billion of retail sales in 2010, equating to 20% of GDP. It aso highlights how the sector provides 10.5% of all jobs, 40% of under 20s employment, and 12% of total UK investment in training.
The BRC argues that the government should not take retail’s contribution to the economy for granted and should do more to help the sector as it battles the current challenging trading conditions.
The key measures it suggests the government should take include keeping Business Rates and the National Minimum Wage under control and abandoning the planned 2012 fuel duty increases. It also proposes that the Red Tape Challenge be revitalised as the BRC argues that this has so far failed to deliver any significant de-regulation to help open up export markets such as EU e-commerce opportunities.
Toon Clerckx, Boots finance director and BRC Board member chairing the UK Retailing project, said: "UK retailing is a great sector making a great contribution to the economy and wider society. Our report focuses on what needs to happen to make sure it stays that way.
"In particular, our role in tackling youth unemployment and delivering training and education is critical to the country. A third of all retail employees are under 25 and we invest in them - spending more per head on training than either the finance sector or manufacturing. I want people to see these facts and say, ‘I can see how much retailers matter. They're getting kids off the streets and into jobs with a future'.
"We want to go on being the number one employer of young people but the Government's choices will make or break our ability to do that. Where it decides to go next with Business Rates, fuel duty and the National Minimum Wage will have a direct impact on investment, stores and people."
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