What does the budget mean for the independent retail industry?

As I am sure you aware, George Osbourne gave his budget today; he was understanding of the struggles retailers are facing and made reference to this in his statement today.

He accompanied this with some facts about the UK economy such as an extremely low (5.3%) level of unemployment and the fact that 1,000 jobs are being created a day (80% of which are full time), all very positive statements in advance of the election.

Along with these statements however, the Chancellor did announce measures that will affect independent retailers:

He confirmed that both small business rates relief and the retail rates relief would continue for at least another year.

He also announced an overhaul of the current business rates system as the current system in the back drop of pressure on the high street is not be fit for purpose.

Further pension freedom and choice allow pensioners to cash in on their annuities. This could see a rise in their spending power, which retailers may want to tap into.

Employees under 21 will continue to be exempt from Employers National Insurance.  In addition to this, retailers who take on apprentices under the age of 25 will also benefit from the exemption.

It was stated that the national minimum wage will rise to £6.70 in the Autumn and £8 by the end of the decade.

A newly designed 12 sided £1 coin was unveiled, this should be good news for smaller retailers helping them reduce the risk of accepting counterfeit coins.

It was confirmed that the annual investment allowance will not drop to £25,000 at 1 January 2016, however this level will not be set until the Autumn Statement.  Good news for those retailers looking to invest in the next year.

Grant Smith, Partner

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