Budget reaction -deficit plan- detail will need to be convincing says BRC
BRC Chief Stephen Robertson said restoring consumer confidence and securing future growth requires a convincing plan for tackling the deficit. It must prioritise cutting non-essential public spending over tax rises.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "Reviving consumer confidence is the route to growth and jobs. Thank goodness no new tax rises were announced. But customers needed to hear a convincing plan for bringing the public finances under control.
"The Chancellor offered no reassurance that he understands spending cuts must be the key means to tackling the deficit and not tax rises which will wreck recovery. We heard indications that the Government is prepared to cut but, when we see the detail, it will need to be convincing.
"Knowing there's pain to come but not where or how much is damaging demand. This was the Chancellor's opportunity to remove some uncertainty but, so far, he has left too many blanks.
"At the same time the Chancellor announced or confirmed new cost burdens which will undermine retailers' ability to maintain and create jobs."
On the Chancellor's response to the rising tide of property costs affecting retailers;
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "We welcome exempting businesses with a rateable value up to £6,000 a year from business rates for 12 months. This is useful assistance for the smallest shops.
"But it makes no difference to established retailers, the ones providing most of the UK's three million retail jobs. The Chancellor has offered them no new help with the big bills coming from increases deferred from last April, revaluation coming in this April and Business Rates Supplements.
"Retailers inevitably use a lot of property. They already pay a quarter of all the £24 billion a year raised in business rates – more than any other sector.
"He should be making business rates more affordable for all retailers. And we need compulsory business ballots to prevent Business Rates Supplements being abused by local authorities and a restoration of rates relief on empty properties."
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