The Chancellor’s mini budget has provoked something of an outcry, with the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), which includes independent gift retailers among its memebrs, sharing their reactions as to which of the measures will be helping them the most in coming months.
Plans in the pipeline include helping to cut energy bills by working with suppliers to reduce wholesale energy costs and a rise in bills, and that the basic rate of income tax would be cut by 19p in April 2023. In addition, that the recent rise in National Insurance would also be reversed from 6 November this year.
Among the independent shops questioned in the survey, which was undertaken last week, over half (51%) believed that the most valuable support would come from the cut in energy bills, while no increase in corporation tax was welcomed by 22.4%.
Only 4% said they were happy with the proposed reduction of income tax, and 12% said the reversal of National Insurance would provide support.
In a similar survey conducted at the end of August, before both the Ofgem announcement on energy prices, and the mini budget announcement last week on September 22, Bira members revealed they had been preparing for the worst.
“Some of the recent measures announced would help independents,” states BIRA’s ceo Andrew Goodacre. “However, there are now other factors in play with higher import prices – due to the declining value of the £pound. “There is also the spectre of much higher interest rates dampening consumer expenditure. A budget deigned to initiate growth and restore consumer/business confidence seems to have had the opposite effect. We do need consumers to continue spending money with independents but with everyone’s budgets getting tighter by the week it remains to be seen what the future holds for the high street,” he underlined.
“Independent retailers are still burdened by business rates. Clearly we have a government that wants to do things differently. I urge the Chancellor to completely reform businesses rates and reduce the burden in November.”
On November 23, there will be a further financial statement from the Chancellor to outline medium to long-term plans.
Top: Following a survey by Bira, independent retailers confirmed that the most support from the government would be the cut in energy bills.