Bira has released the results of a new poll today that reveals how its members think the mini-budget measures may help small business in the coming months.
Last week the government promised there were plans in the pipeline for cutting businesses’ energy bills. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng also announced in his mini-budget that the basic rate of income tax would be cut by 19p in April 2023, and the recent rise in National Insurance would also be reversed from 6 November this year.
Among the independent shop owners questioned in Bira’s survey, over half (51 per cent) said the most valuable measure will be the reduction in energy bills, while no increase in corporation tax was also welcomed by 22.4 per cent of respondents.
Only 4 per cent said they were happy with the proposed reduction of income tax, and 12 per cent said the reversal of National Insurance would provide support.
Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre comments: “Some of the recent measures announced would help independents. However, there are now other factors in play with higher import prices (due to the declining value of the pound) resulting in higher prices.
“There is also the spectre of much higher interest rates dampening consumer expenditure. A budget deigned to initiate growth and restore consumer/ business confidence seems to have had the opposite effect. We do need consumers to continue spending money with independents, but with everyone’s budgets getting tighter by the week it remains to be seen what the future holds for the high street.”
Goodacre says the industry will be waiting for the chancellor’s planned financial statement on Wednesday 23 November, which will outline medium to long-term plans. He adds: “Independent retailers are still burdened by business rates. Clearly, we have a government that wants to do things differently and I urge the chancellor to completely reform businesses rates and reduce the burden in November.”