With the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, expected to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday October 27, a permanent reduction of business rates must be a top priority for the Chancellor, says the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).
The Association is looking to the Chancellor permanently cut business rates to help support independent retailers, which includes gift retailers, who are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, with many accruing extra debt during lockdown.
“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.
He highlighted that the following measures to support the high street must also be considered:
- 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.
Bira is also encouraging its members, and the wider independent retail sector, to write to their MP about business rates, ahead of the Autumn Statement.
Top: Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be delivering his Autumn Statement at the end of October.