Bobby Lane, business adviser and partner at Blick Rothenberg, discusses what impact the chancellor’s Spring Statement mightl have on fashion retail.
Today, chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his first Spring Statement and declared the success the government has had in steadying the economy. He remains confident of the future prospects for Britain based on the government’s continuing strategy. Growth is forecast, and he pointed to the positive growth in the manufacturing sector specifically. But did the Spring Statement contain anything that will help the fashion sector?
Business rates revaluation will be brought forward to 2020/2021 and then move to a revaluation every three years thereafter. This is good news, as it should help many of our high street businesses that are struggling with their rates bills.
However, this is still two years away, and rates continue to present a major issue for bricks-and-mortar retailers, who would like to see measures brought in to level the playing field with their online competitors. Let’s hope those businesses are still around in two years to take advantage of the revaluation.
The government continues to recognise the huge issue faced by businesses when dealing with late payment from customers. This has serious effects on businesses trying to pay their bills when they may be unable to get decent credit terms from their suppliers. It places huge pressure on the working capital of a business and, in some cases, can affect the ability to survive. It is vital that measures are introduced as soon as possible to deal with this issue.
Taking on an apprentice
The chancellor announced £80m is to be made available to support small businesses when taking on apprentices. This is welcome news, as the cost of taking on staff is another big issue facing many of our smaller businesses. While it is encouraging that the government is focusing on these areas, once again we will need to wait for the detail and clear guidance of how businesses can access the funds.