Freeze rates to deliver on inflation pledge
Responding to the King’s Speech, earlier today, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
On Business Rates:
“We welcome the Government’s pledge, within the King’s Speech, to “continue to take action to bring down inflation, to ease the cost of living for families, and help businesses fund new jobs and investment”.
“The Autumn Statement offers a vital opportunity to deliver on all three of these objectives – by freezing the business rates burden, that will otherwise rise by £470m-a-year for retailers in 2024. Without action, this additional burden would likely slow or prevent retailers from cutting prices and easing retail inflation. Business rates remain one of the biggest factors considered when opening new stores, increasing job numbers and investing in our town and city centres. Raising business rates will undoubtedly block vital investment now and in the future, which is why the Chancellor must announce a freeze at the Autumn Statement, and commit to a review of the system in the longer term.
“At a time when retail crime is soaring, with daily news headlines on the violence and abuse of our nation’s shopkeepers and organised shoplifting from our stores, we need action. The industry has been loud and clear on the urgent need for a standalone offence for assaulting or abusing a retail worker, sending a clear signal that such behaviour will not be tolerated. It would also require police forces to record all incidents of retail crime, allowing for better allocation of resources to the issue.
“Sadly, while today’s speech promised future legislation on a number of crime-related issues, retail crime has been left to fester. It’s time for Government to get tough on retail crime and support the millions of retail workers across the country who serve us each and every day. No one should have to go to work fearing assault or abuse.”