Responding to the Chancellor’s Growth Plan statement, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“The Chancellor’s announcements should help to shore up consumer demand going into what will be a challenging winter for households and businesses alike. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme, set out earlier this week, and announcements on National Insurance and Corporation Tax will help retailers shield their customers from some of the effects of inflation. Furthermore, we welcome the reintroduction of tax-free shopping for tourists, which will boost sales and bring the UK back in line with other European nations.
“Retailers are facing immense cost pressures, not just from energy bills, but also a weak pound, rising commodity prices, high transport costs, a tight labour market and the cumulative burden of government-imposed costs. Yet what was missing from today’s announcement, was any mention of business rates, which are set to jump by 10% next April, inflicting another £800m in unaffordable tax rises on already squeezed retailers. It is inevitable that such additional taxes will ultimately be passed through to families in the form of higher prices. There is still time for the government to act. Freezing the business rates multiplier will stimulate investment and will allow retailers to focus on what’s important - keeping prices down for households.”