Members of Bira (British Independent Retailers Association) have reacted to the news of the recent mini budget and energy announcements by outlining which would help them the most in coming months.
Last week, the government promised they had plans in the pipeline for helping cut energy bills by working with suppliers to reduce wholesale energy costs and rises in bills. It was also outlined in the mini budget by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng that the basic rate of income tax would be cut by 19p in April 2023, and the recent rise in National Insurance would be reversed from 6 November this year.
Among independent shops surveyed by Bira last week, over half (51%) believed the most valuable support would come from the cut of energy bills, while no increase in corporation tax was welcomed by 22.4% of those questioned. Only 4% said they were happy with the proposed reduction of income tax, and 12% said the reversal of National Insurance would provide support.
In a similar survey conducted at the end of August before both the Ofgem announcement on energy prices and the mini budget announcement, Bira members revealed they had been preparing for the worst.
“Some of the recent measures announced would help independents. However, there are now other factors now in play with higher import prices (due to the declining value of the pound) resulting in higher prices”Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre
Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “Some of the recent measures announced would help independents. However, there are now other factors now in play with higher import prices (due to the declining value of the pound) resulting in higher prices.
“There is also the spectre of much higher interest rates dampening consumer expenditure. A budget designed to initiate growth and restore consumer/business confidence seems to have had the opposite effect. We do need consumers to continue spending money with independents, but with everyone’s budgets getting tighter by the week, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the high street.”
There is also a financial statement from the Chancellor due on November 23 to outline medium to long-term plans. Andrew said: “Independent retailers are still burdened by business rates. Clearly, we have a government that wants to do things differently, and I urge the Chancellor to completely reform businesses rates and reduce the burden in November.”
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