The British Retail Consortium has passed its verdict on Conservative and Labour manifesto proposals affecting the multiples industry.
The trade body gave a qualified welcome to Conservative plans to give councils new powers to introduce further discounts on business rates, partially reduce a National Insurance rise and cut corporation tax.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said retailers pay a quarter of all business rates. “If this proposal genuinely leads to lower tax bills overall, that’s a good thing.”
He urged the scrapping of the entire National Insurance rise planned from April 2011.
The BRC was also pleased by Labour’s committment not to extend VAT to products such as kidswear but was worried by the possibility of the minimum wage rising faster than average earnings and the party’s National Insurance stance.
On VAT Robertson noted: “This pledge doesn’t extend to changes in the rate of VAT – an issue of considerable concern for many retailers.”