Responding to the latest ONS figures, which show monthly retail sales fell by 0.1% in October, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
“October’s retail sales statistics show just how difficult the current retail climate is for small firms. Small businesses are in the midst of a confidence crisis, plagued by political uncertainty and rising costs.
“With a general election just four weeks away, manifestos are being drawn-up by all political parties. We need to see strong pledges that will help small businesses grow and thrive being put front and centre. Key to this will be a major overhaul of the outdated business rates system, which is currently holding back so many small firms.
“This reform should start with a wider roll out of the retail rates discount, which allows small retailers to claim a third off their rates bills, including small firms across the sectors and making it permanent. We then need to see a significant uprating of the £12,000 rateable value ceiling for Small Business Rate Relief.
“In the run up to a rare December election and the busiest trading period for many retailers, we’re asking politicians – do they know it’s Christmas?
“Politicians must show they back small firms by focussing on domestic issues that matter to them.”