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5 Mar 2021

The meeting will take place on Friday 12th March at 10am and will be co-chaired by Ruth Cadbury MP and Selaine Saxby MP

3 Mar 2021

Key highlights include an extension to the business rates holiday and furlough scheme, as well as new £6000 "restart" grants for non-essential retailers.

23 Feb 2021

The report provides key insights into the social and economic contributions of the rural shop sector, including profiles of the entrepreneurs that run rural shops, the investments they make and...

18 Feb 2021

Leading industry bodies, including IRC members, have warned the Secretary of State that this notion puts the future of our town centres at serious risk

17 Feb 2021

The Scottish Government Finance Secretary plans to extend 100% business rates relief for all retailers to cover all of 2021/22

10 Feb 2021

Use this template to email your MP to help independent retailers survive the pandemic by delaying the return of business rates.

10 Feb 2021

Letter to Rishi Sunak signed by Tesco, B&Q, Waterstones, and members of the IRC, calls for the business rates system to be reformed to make it fairer for physical stores

9 Feb 2021

Legislation has been laid to increase the minimum amount that retailers must charge for a single use carrier bag from 5p to 10p from 30th April 2021

5 Feb 2021

Over 65 retail organisations, including many members of the IRC, have written to the Prime Minister raising concerns of increasing instances of violence and abuse against shopworkers

3 Feb 2021

Buy now pay later (BNPL) firms such as Klarna and Clearpay are to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority after a report warned of the risk of people running into "unseen debt".

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Government Spending Review: The most relevant Spending Review policies to independent retailers

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

The Chancellor presented his Spending Review to Parliament today setting out the Government's departmental spending plans for the year ahead and response to Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The full Spending Review documents are available here.


‘The economic emergency has only just begun'


Office for Budget Responsibility Highlights Economic Impact of Covid-19

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts that the UK economy will contract by 11.3%, the largest fall in output for 300 years. It suggests that the economy will not recover to pre-crisis until the fourth quarter of 2022. Beyond this, Covid-19 will bring long term scarring effects with the 2025 economy being around 3% smaller than suggested in the March Budget. The OBR notes that borrowing is at its highest recorded amount in UK peacetime, with £394 billion borrowed equating to 19% of UK GDP, the UK Government highlights this is significant but necessary. The OBR confirmed on a more positive note that our economic response has protected jobs, supported incomes and helped businesses staying afloat during unprecedented times. The OBR has found that business insolvency has decreased on last year and unemployment is lower than many European countries including France and Germany, as well as the United States. The OBR fiscal and economic outlook is available here.


National Living Wage to Increase by 2.2% to £8.91 in 2021

As part of the Spending Review the Chancellor confirmed that the Government have accepted the Low Pay Commission recommendations for the National Living Wage in 2021. The National Living Wage will increase to £8.91 from April 2021. The National Living Wage will also be extended to colleagues that are 23 and 24 years old (currently only for 25 year olds). The 21 to 22 year Old Rate will increase by 2.0% to £8.36. The Government's long term target for the National Living Wage remains in place but the Low Pay Commission will continue to review the pathway to this target. In a letter to the Business Secretary the Low Pay Commission said: "we do not recommend a change to the Government's target of reaching two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, and the Commission remains fully committed to the goal of ending low pay. The increase we recommend is broadly in line with predicted wage growth, meaning progress against the Government's ambition may continue."

Business Rates Multiplier Frozen for 2021-22

The Spending Review documents confirm that the Government will freeze the Business Rates Multiplier for 2021-22, saving business £575million over the next five years. The Spending review also states that the government will clarify their position on the extension of the business rates holiday early next year: "In order to ensure that any decisions best meet the evolving challenges presented by Covid-19, the government will outline plans for 2021-22 reliefs in the New Year".


Funding For Safer Streets

The Chancellor announced that the Government will provide an additional £400m to recruit new police officers as part of the Government's commitment to recruit 20,000 officers by 2023. 5,000 of the target of 6,000 officers have already been recruited this year and the additional funding will provide a further 6,000 by the end of 2021-22. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) in England will have flexibility to increase funding in 2021-22 with a £15 council tax precept. If all PCCs take advantage of this, it would raise up to an additional £320m. The Spending Review confirmed increased funding for the Criminal Justice System, with more than £4bn over the next four years to deliver 18,000 additional prison places across England and Wales. There will be £275m available to manage the downstream demand impact of the additional police officers in the courts and £40m to support victims of crime as well as continued funding to progress probation reform and reduce reoffending.


Support for Labour Market: Restart Programme

The Chancellor announce £3.6 billion of additional funding in 2021-22 for the Department for Work and Pension to deliver labour market support. This includes funding for the a new 3-year long £2.9 billion Restart Programme to provide intensive and tailored support to over 1 million unemployed people and help them find work and a work search support measures announced in the Plan for Jobs.


New Levelling Up Fund Announced

The Government is launching a new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion for England, that will attract up to £0.8 billion for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. The Government will publish a prospectus for the Fund and launch the first round of competitions in the New Year.


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