Retailers left “angered” after Covid-19 call with business secretary

Kwasi Kwarteng BRC Helen Dickinson business rates
The conversation surrounded issues such as post-lockdown reopening and business rates
// Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng labelled as “rude” after call with 70 retail CEOs
// Kwarteng was promoted to become secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) in January

Retailers have reportedly been left “angered” after a call with the new business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng about post-lockdown reopening and business rates.

Kwarteng, who was promoted to become secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) in January, took part in a virtual meeting with 70 retail chief executives organised by the BRC on Tuesday.

However, the businesses labelled his attitude as “rude” as the confidential call went on, Retail Week reported.


READ MORE: Covid-hit retailers to be given further support, business secretary says


Retailers had been expecting an hour of Kwarteng’s time, but the meeting lasted just 30 minutes.

The conversation surrounded issues such as post-lockdown reopening and business rates, but is said to have become confrontational when state-aid was brought up.

Some businesses are concerned that they may be ineligible for some grants to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic because of adherence to EU state-aid rules, even though the UK has now left the body.

Kwarteng had an angry reaction when a question was asked on the impact on financing arrangements of some smaller and mid-sized retailers.

Kwarteng told the chief executives that he would be unimpressed if details of the discussion were leaked.

Meanwhile, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said she was ”deeply disappointed” that details of the confidential call with Kwarteng had been leaked.

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