Blog: 30 October 2018#Budget2018 Retail Response

“For the high street, the tea has been served without hot water. The Chancellor’s £675m ‘future high streets fund’ and lower business rates for smaller retailers are excellent initiatives, but the pot is incomplete without all the elements in play. How are we going to tackle the demise of international businesses, such as department stores, on the high street? The small business tax relief will make it easier for pop-ups and small businesses which is greatly needed, but doesn’t solve the problem for larger stores, where the loss of these is impacting the high street in a major way. The Chancellor suggests modernising Use Class Order and Compulsory Purchase Order to enable conversions to housing, but more information is needed to ensure the right mix of retail and housing is delivered to create thriving streets."

“Ultimately, the high street’s biggest pressure is competing with online retail.  While a timetable has been set to introduce a ‘tech tax’ in April 2020, it is not clear how that will benefit the high street. Bolder moves are needed to offset direct competition and create what high street retailers are calling “a more level playing field”.   

“Yet, the most significant element dictating the health of high streets is the attitude and mood of the consumer.  If people do not feel financially safe, they will not spend money – whether you have small business tax relief or not. This is not to be underestimated. Certainty about austerity and the outcome of Brexit will determine how much or how little people will spend. This is where the hot water comes into play. Without firm plans and words that give people the confidence in the future during these uncertain times, the kettle has not been fired up and the tea isn’t brewing.”




As featured in Place North West and North West Insider.

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