Retail sales slump ramps up call for radical business rates manifesto pledges

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 Key to this will be a major overhaul of the outdated business rates system, which is currently holding back so many small firms.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.”

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