With the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, expected to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday October 27, a reduction of business rates must be a top priority in this, stresses the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira). While Bira is leading the big push on this front, this campaign has the backing of all members of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), of which the GCA is an active member.
Bira is at the forefront of piling on the pressure for the Chancellor topermanently cut business rates to support independent retailers, including those in the greeting card and gift sector.
“This could be done by re-introducing the retail discount and using that to reduce rates by 75% for all retail premises with a rateable value below £100,000,” states Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre. “Anything less than this will put many businesses in trouble next year. Now more than ever, independent retailers need support and we hope that the Chancellor is listening and will respond accordingly,” added Andrew.
Bira is also urging all retailers, to write to their MP about business rates, ahead of the Autumn Statement.
“We know that businesses will struggle with the re-introduction of full rates and it is important for us to communicate this message to as many MPs and government ministers as possible,” said Andrew. “We urge all our members – and the wider independent retail sector – to contact their MPs to express their concerns – it does make a difference.”
Bira has included a template letter on its website, which can be accessed here, as well as a list of constituency MPs.
Andrew has also highlighted a number of measures to support the high street that should also be seriously considered by the Chancellor and other bodies…
A continuation of tax incentives to encourage more investment in the sector.
Renewed commitment of funds, set up in March, to help businesses with their digital growth and management skills; Bira would also like to see the eligibility criteria for these funds reduced as too many smaller retailers have not been able access the funds
A review of the current apprenticeship scheme to make it fit for purpose in the retail sector.
National Insurance contribution allowances increased for independent retailers to lessen the burden on employers – in preparation for the expected rise to the National Minimum Wage next April.
More investment in the infrastructure of towns and high streets to improve footfall and accessibility while still making strides towards net zero goals.
Top: Retailers need to push their MPs for a permanent reduction in Business Rates.