The British Independent Retailers Association has put together a five item wish list for the Chancellor to address in the spring budget.
The association has called on Jeremy Hunt to address the issues facing the UK’s high street when he speaks in parliament on Wednesday 6 March, 2024.
Andrew Goodacre, ceo of BIRA, urged the government to address the issues critical in ensuring the continued growth and prosperity of the retail sector.
He said: “As the spring season approaches, we look to the government to sow the seeds for a robust and thriving retail landscape. Independent retailers are the lifeblood of our economy, and we believe that addressing these five key issues in the spring budget will not only support businesses but also contribute to the overall economic well-being of the nation.”
BIRA’s top five wishes for the spring budget are:
- Permanent retail discount rates at 75% – BIRA stresses the importance of making the current retail discount permanent for businesses with a rates payable value of up to £110,000 per annum.
- Policies to improve consumer confidence and spending – Recognising the symbiotic relationship between consumers and retailers, BIRA believes that these measures will create a positive economic environment, driving growth and stability within the retail sector.
- Increase in employer NI allowance – By April, the National Minimum Wage will have risen by almost 20% in the past two years. BIRA advocates for a proportional 20% increase in the employer’s national insurance allowance.
- Reintroduction of tax-free shopping in the UK – BIRA believes this would stimulate retail activity particularly in tourist destinations across the country.
- Action to free businesses from expensive energy contracts – Given the recent fall in energy prices, BIRA calls for immediate action to liberate businesses from expensive energy contracts. This step would alleviate financial burdens on retailers.
Andrew added: “These wishes represent a collective vision for a vibrant and flourishing retail landscape. We believe that by addressing these crucial issues in the Spring Budget, the government can lay the groundwork for a prosperous future for independent retailers and the UK economy as a whole.