News

26 Oct 2021

Bira concerned Chancellor's Autumn Statement won't support indies

Bira has raised concerns over the content of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement tomorrow (Wednesday, October 27, 2021).

Bira believes Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak may not set out enough provision to support independent retailers when he delivers his statement setting out the state of the nation's finances.

Bira’s number one request is that business rates are permanently cut reducing the burden on indies still struggling to recover from the pandemic, many of which are saddled with extra debt accrued during lockdown. 

However, Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, does not believe this request will be fulfilled.

 

He said: "It would appear that the Government is again delaying fundamental reform to business rates – disappointing to say the least as they have had 12 months since the consultation on rates reform closed.

"Whilst the Chancellor may not want to introduce wholesale reform tomorrow, the least he can do is to re-introduce the retail discount. This scheme was already in place pre-Covid, so bringing this back is not wholesale reform but doing what we had before.

"Something has to be done to ease the cumulative cost burden being faced by small retailers. Doing nothing is the clearest sign yet that the Government is writing off physical retail."

Bira is also concerned about the potential rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Andrew said: "Responsible employers want to see employees earn a fair wage. We expected the NMW to increase above inflation as this was proposed by the low pay commission some time ago. However, we have again missed the opportunity to reduce the burden on employees by not increasing the national insurance allowance. Such a move would still allow employees to earn more whilst reducing the cost to employers."

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, Bira has been encouraging its members and the wider independent retail sector to write to their MP on the matter of business rates ahead. Full story here


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