Wednesday, 22 November 2017

In a preliminary response to the Chancellor’s Budget, Sara Jones, Head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said:


“Prospects for Wales’ retailers are ultimately determined by the state of the economy and their own ability to adapt and seize on the opportunities that arise. The downgrade in predictions for economic growth, productivity and consumer spending are therefore sobering. With household incomes under strain and shoppers cautious, it is imperative the Welsh Government’s own budget next month focuses relentlessly on economic growth.


“Retailers will welcome the Chancellor’s decision to bring forward by two years plans to link annual rises in the business rate poundage to CPI rather than RPI, something which the retail industry has led the charge on. The switch to CPI indexation is long awaited, and is a step towards a more sensible and affordable rates regime. What is crucial is that Welsh Ministers follow suit, otherwise firms here in Wales will be paying a headline business rate higher than competitors and counterparts across the border.  In addition, we have the opportunity in Wales to cap next year’s business rates multiplier which we demonstrate that Wales truly is open for business.


“It’s also welcome to see the Chancellor take other measures to recognise the importance of productivity and innovation in his budget. Continued investment in infrastructure is crucial for economic growth, and we hope the Welsh Government use those Barnett consequential revenues to continue to enhance both digital and transport infrastructure in Wales.

“Hard pressed consumers will benefit from the increase in the income tax personal allowance, helping them at a time when they are being hit by rising inflation, mortgage rates, and with other government-influenced costs such as council tax rises in the pipeline.”