The British Retail Consortium has said that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will give struggling households and businesses the confidence to spend and invest.
George Osborne made a series of announcements to the Commons today, including a pledge to cancel a planned rise in fuel duty in January.
BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said:
“No-one can afford to pay more for fuel. Cancelling January’s rise is exactly what we asked for. It will provide much needed support for consumers.
“It will ease the pressure on household budgets, boost customers’ ability to spend and help hard-pressed retailers contain their transport costs. Rebuilding the confidence of customers to spend and retailers to invest and create jobs have to be the Chancellor’s priorities.
“For the future, the ritual of announcing rises that are later dropped or delayed should end. A clearer more consistent approach would support longer-term decision making.”
Mr Robertson said the Chancellor had made some “bold moves” in the Autumn Statement.
“We’ve been calling for more urgent action on growth,” he said.
“We asked the Chancellor to concentrate on delivering in a few robustly pro-growth areas that would really make a difference to customers and retailers. This Statement goes a long way towards delivering this but not always quickly enough.
“There were welcome measures, on fuel duty, infrastructure investment and business and personal taxes but some of these are not due until 2014. Retail sales are flat. 2013 will be another tough year.
“It’s retail where many young people start their working lives yet jobs in non-food retailing are actually falling. Much more needs to be done to support the retail sector in its contribution to overall growth.
“It’s essential the Government continues its good work on keeping the cost of borrowing low.
“The cut in Corporation Tax is very helpful but the sector will still be hit by a third successive huge rise in Business Rates next April and increased capital allowances for plant won’t help retail.”