Retailers “encouraged” by chancellor spending review

The British Retail Consortium has said it is encouraged that the government is considering options for further rates relief for businesses in England impacted by the pandemic.

But the industry body called for the government to implement its suggestion of rates relief at 50 per cent.

“Many retail businesses have been shuttered for the past month, depriving them of £8bn in sales,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium. “A return to full business rates liability in April would be impossible for some firms to meet and freezing the multiplier in 2021/22 does not solve this problem.

“Government should adopt our proposal for business rates relief at 50 per cent which reflects the fall in retail property values and brings market reality into the system, while generating much needed revenue for the Treasury.”

She also said that an extension to the moratorium on debt enforcement would encourage constructive dialogue between landlords and tenants on rents, and would support the resilience of the retail industry.

“We were disappointed that the Chancellor did not choose to reverse the decision to end tax-free shopping for international visitors to the UK,” said Dickinson. “The policy will deliver a relatively small saving for the Treasury at the expense of a far greater return to the UK economy, and will damage the UK’s position as a top destination for international shoppers."

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