// Non-food retailers “lose £22bn in sales” since the start of the pandemic
// BRC calls for take action on business rates, rents & grants ahead of the spring budget next month
// It requested an extension on the business rates holiday & on the moratorium on debt enforcement by landlords
Lockdown measures have cost non-food retailers around £22 billion in lost sales since the start of the pandemic, according to new figures.
The BRC said the closure of non-essential stores and social distancing restrictions have weighed on the UK retail industry over the past 12 months.
The trade body has called on the UK Government to take action on business rates, rents and grants ahead of the Chancellor’s spring budget next month in order to help the sector’s recovery.
- Over 50,000 Oxford Street jobs will disappear post-lockdown
- Record-breaking January sees highest online retail sales since 1st lockdown
- January retail sales fall as lockdown restrictions hammer stores
It namely requested an extension to the current business rates holiday which is due to expire at the end of March.
Earlier this week, 18 retail leaders including supermarket bosses urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the relief and to help put bricks-and-mortar stores on a “level playing field” with online rivals.
The BRC said retailers contributed £17 billion in business taxes in 2019, collecting a further £46 billion in VAT.
The group said an extension to the moratorium on debt enforcement by landlords would “support thousands of retailers” who face accumulating rents even while their stores are unable to trade.
It also called for the decision to apply EU state aid limits to lockdown grants to be reversed and called on the Chancellor to remove “all bureaucratic restrictions stopping businesses receiving these vital support funds”.
“After 2020 proved to be the worst year on record, it is essential that the Chancellor uses the spring budget to support those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“Vital support in the form of an extension to the business rates relief and moratorium on debt enforcement, as well as removing state aid caps on Covid business grants, would relieve struggling businesses of bills they cannot currently pay and allow them to trade their way to recovery.
“Tackling the challenge of rates, rents and grants should be the Government’s immediate priority to ensuring the survival and revival of non-essential retailers and protecting the jobs of hundreds of thousands of retail workers across the country.”
with PA Wires