BRC urges Chancellor to cut costs for retailers ahead of Budget

The British Retail Consortium is calling on the Chancellor to reduce operating costs for retailers after an independent study by Oxford Economics for the BRC revealed the cost of doing business has increased 21 per cent to £20 billion since 2006.

During the same period retailers’ sales increased by just 12 per cent.

The research also demonstrates that while many costs such as rents have responded to economic realities, centrally driven costs such as business rates and utility bills have gone up sharply.

In its submission ahead of next month’s Budget, the BRC is proposing that the Chancellor helps consumers and cuts business costs to support jobs and growth.

Among the measures called for are a freeze on business rates in April, central coordination for the implementation of the Portas Review recommendations and the introduction of a time limited National Insurance holiday for companies taking on unemployed youngsters.

British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson says: “Retail is a major force for good.

“It’s the UK’s largest private sector jobs provider and has been a powerhouse for investment and growth, even during the relentlessly tough times of the last few years.

“There were welcome measures in the Autumn Statement and the Chancellor has it within his gift to do a great deal more.

“Our figures show dramatic increases in operating costs, often as a direct result of government decisions.

“Consumer spending accounts for two thirds of all expenditure in the UK.

“It must recover before the economy can, yet 2013 has begun with high profile evidence that demand is weak and a painful restructuring of the UK retail industry is underway as customers change the ways in which they want to shop.

“The Chancellor has the opportunity to improve the business environment as a way of re-establishing and maximising retailer’s essential contribution to the recovery.”

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