Published on 28 - February - 2011
BRC urges Government to ease retailer costs ahead of March BudgetRetailers are already absorbing £670m of extra Government-imposed costs and must be protected from further burdens in next month's Budget, the British Retail Consortium has said today.
Over the next 12 months, retailers will have to deal with the knock-on effects of last October's National Minimum Wage increase, as well as Business Rates and National Insurance increases due this April.
On top of this, says the BRC, is the unknown cost of absorbing a "significant share" of the £12bn-a-year VAT rise introduced on January 4th.
In its submission to the Chancellor ahead of next month's Budget, the BRC points out that 80% of the new jobs announced at the Prime Minister's January Jobs Summit were in retail, showing the sector is "central to growth and jobs". The organisation argues that any new financial impositions will undermine the sector's ability to maintain and create jobs, and sets out a 20-point plan for retail-led recovery.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "Our absolute priority is to be at the centre of the recovery - to be able to go on maintaining and creating jobs. Sadly, a million young people are without work. Retail already employs one million young people, starting their careers, and we'd like to be able to take on more.
"While it may be true that 'the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden', the retail sector, which operates on slim margins, is already seeing its load increase sharply. New impositions can only hinder retail's ability to invest."
He called for an environment which would ease costs, support job creation and boost consumer confidence.
The 20-point plan includes calls for the Chancellor to:
· Help employers plan by giving 18 months notice of all future National Minimum Wage increases
· Make future Business Rates increases more predictable and affordable by basing them on the Consumer Price Index
· Reduce the impact of rising transport costs by suspending the fuel duty increase due in April and waiving commercial vehicle road tax for a year
· Suspend new employment legislation until growth is firmly established
· Help retailers further increase apprenticeships by minimising bureaucracy
Chancellor George Osbourne has confirmed that the Budget will take place on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
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