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Retailers call for Budget action
BRC urges government to make reforms in next month’s Budget.

By Christina Williams

21 June 2015

Industry representative the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called upon the government to offer the sector real and practical support during the emergency Budget next month. As the country’s largest private employer, the retail sector has urged the government to consider tax relief to lower earners, skills support and a business rate reform in order to stimulate the growth of the wider economy. 
 
“Retailers know they’re nothing without their people,” says BRC director general Helen Dickinson. “Both retailers and the government know there’s more to be done to improve productivity and help people to progress to higher rates of pay.”

 
Specifically, the BRC has urged the government to respect the independence of the Low Pay Commission, the current advisory body responsible for advising on rates of national minimum wage. Suggestions to replace this with a “living wage” would be short sighted and a “blunt instrument”, according the BRC, putting added strain on employers. 
 
The BRC has instead suggested the government offer tax relief to the sector’s lowest-paid workers, while implementing improved skills support to help them to progress throughout the industry. 
 
The emergency Budget will take place on 8 July, and will see Chancellor George Osborne preside over his first Budget under a Conservative majority. It is rumoured that £12bn worth of welfare cuts will be made, with policies including a benefits limit of £23k per family, a cap on tax credits and a reduction in housing benefit likely to be introduced.


 
 
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