Budget ‘must support retailers’

The growing number of empty shops in Britain demonstrates the need for a retail-friendly Budget in March.
So said the British Retail Consortium after The Local Data Company today published the latest figures on shop vacancy rates.

They show a climb to 14.5% at the end of 2010 compared with 12% 12 months earlier.

The BRC says Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget must not pile on the difficulties for retailers, and that it is a key opportunity to ease cost pressures, raise consumer confidence and support town centres.

Top of the consortium’s list of priorities is reform of the business rate system: retailers face a 4.6% increase in business rates this April.

It is also calling for employment costs to be kept down. Future National Minimum Wage increases should not exceed increases in annual earnings and there should be no significant new employment-rights legislation until the recovery is secure, it says.

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