Autumn Statement: Industry reaction

17th November 2022 | Jack Oliver

The Chancellor today revealed the Autumn Statement, which pledged targeted support to help with business rates costs worth £13.6bn over five years.

The statement also declared that business rates multipliers will be frozen in 2023-24.

Industry reaction

“Whilst these changes are well received by the sector, we are yet to see whether the Government’s decision to increase the tax burden on large distribution warehouses, rather than impose an Online Sales Tax goes far enough to support bricks and mortar retailers.”

GCW Property Consultants

“Whilst we’re expecting a strong Christmas trading period, £1.55 billion set to be spent in London’s West End alone, rising operating costs and in particular business rates are squeezing already tight margins. We are concerned that the business rates package may not benefit all high street businesses.”

Dee Corsi, chief executive of New West End

“There was precious little that we could see on growth, there was quite a few issues where, I think he’s missed an opportunity. When you look at the last two recessions we’ve gone through, most of the recovery has come from the small business sector, and he needed the help of small business owners to get out of this mess, and I’m afraid he let them down.”

Martin McTague, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses

“The chancellor has done something very important… This was the wrong time to rip up the consensus of the last 25 years when it comes to economic policy… What has happened today is that period has been put behind us. Hunt has restored order.”

Ed Balls, speaking at the Westminster Property Association

“We need better-paid, more sustainable jobs, affordable and decent housing, and better rights for renters. By committing to programmes and policies that genuinely work for everyone, we can finally cut the throat of poverty and usher in a new era of shared economic prosperity.”

Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, via The Evening Standard

“Businesses across the UK are facing unprecedented cost pressures and we are pleased the Chancellor has listened to the BPF, frozen the business rates multiplier and introduced further reliefs, to help prevent a tide of insolvencies on the high street. Many high street businesses have been paying artificially high rates bills for years and the Chancellor has recognised this is simply not sustainable.”

Melanie Leech, CEO of the British Property Federation

“The announcements today show the government has heard the concerns of the retail industry. Retailers are working incredibly hard to support customers – expanding value ranges, fixing the prices of essential items, and offering discounts to vulnerable households. This Autumn Statement supports that commitment by reducing upwards pressure on prices in the short term, and helping retailers protect jobs, keep shops open, and protect the vibrancy of local communities.”

“The Government has taken an essential step towards longer term reform of the broken business rates system by announcing the scrapping of downwards phasing of transitional relief. This decision means that April’s bills reflect market conditions and retailers will pay only what they owe, rather than being forced to overpay their rates bill when the value of their property has already fallen. This represents the first step towards a more fundamental reform of the broken business rates system.” 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium

“We are disappointed that the Chancellor has not offered more support to businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry. This sector has had to deal with many challenges over the past few years and is now having to battle with high inflation, soaring energy bills, a global recession and rising cost of living. We felt one area which could have made a huge difference was the reintroduction of tax-free shopping for international visitors. The wider economic challenges the world is facing is impacting greatly on the international visitor economy but recent research from the Association of International Retail has found that reintroducing tax-free shopping would have brought in an additional 1.6 million visitors in its first full year. It was also estimated that these new visitors would have spent an extra £2.1bn on shopping along with an additional £1bn on other goods and services such as hotels, restaurants and other leisure activities which would have been a vital boost for these businesses.”

Kay Buxton, Chief Executive of Marble Arch London BID

Photo credit: Gint Ivuskans / Shutterstock


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