Independent greeting card retailers are pinning their hopes that a pledge re-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made to halve business rates for small businesses from April 2020 do become a reality.
Yesterday (19 December) in the first Queen’s Speech of the new government, the monarch highlighted the key pledges of the 25 bills which set out the government’s legislative programme for the next term.
“To support business, my government will…bring forward changes to business rates,” stated the Queen, making reference to PM Boris Johnson’s proposal to instigate a 50% discount in business rates for small retailers (with a rateable value below £51,000), giving indies a saving of up to £12,500, with some 500,000 businesses expected to benefit.
“I’m delighted with the news on business rates – they have been crippling small businesses for years. I like the certainty that the recent election brought,” exclaimed Amanda Oscroft, co-owner of Love It in Bury St Edmunds and Stamford.
Nick O’Brien, owner of Cards 2 Confetti in Brixham described the mooted business rate cut as “a welcome relief” though adds the proviso “As long as it is a true cut and not then taken somewhere else!”
Adding her endorsement, Jo Sorrell, owner of Cardies in Stevenage said: “This is certainly great news for businesses. The High Street needs some positivity and this move will certainly help.”
Summing it up in one word, Richard Marsden, co-owner of card and gift shop, Highworth Emporium in Highworth said: “Wow” of the mention in the Queen’s Speech. “We, like all local businesses in small high streets, will welcome this support from the government. Everything that can help encourage a retail and social environment in our small towns will help maintain that sense of local community. Go Boris!”
Concurring, David Lorimer, co-owner of Brocante, which trades from four shops in Cornwall said: “Any reduction in rates will help support businesses and make them a bit more profitable, as the costs of running a business are increasing with recycling, wages etc., are going up annually.”
This pledge follows continued lobbying by trade organisations that include the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for a drastic review of the outdated business rates system. It is hoped that improvements will be included in the government’s March budget.
Top: The Queen’s Speech mentioned business rate reform is on the cards.