Mar 1, 2021
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More calls for retail tax changes, support for female-focused businesses in budget

Mar 1, 2021

Ahead of Wednesday’s key budget, the UK government have received calls to cut retail taxes and provide extra support for women in business.

Photo: Pixabey

North of England Conservative MPs are calling for chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut taxes for thousands of retailers, reported The Guardian.

Some 45 northern Tories are demanding he makes “a bold move to reduce business rates”. Members of the influential Northern Research Group of Conservative backbenchers have written to the chancellor saying there is a need for “levelling the playing field between bricks and mortar and online retail”.

They're demanding business rates are reduced from about 50% of market rent to around 35% to help achieve this.

“With many of our town centres hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time for a bold move to reduce business rates nationally,” the MPs have written in a letter to Sunak.

It added: “We need to make sure that once people can go shopping again, they have high streets to go back to”.

Separately, leading names in business and government have joined forces to urge extra safeguards in the retail and beauty industries for women.

The financial impact on women during the lockdown is being “overlooked”, more than 60 female business leaders and MPs have warned as they call for more support in the upcoming budget.

In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, leading retail names including Jane Shepherdson, chair of My Wardrobe HQ, Millie Kendall and Helena Grzesk, CEO and COO respectively of the British Beauty Council, Trinny Woodall, founder and CEO of Trinny London, and retail consultant Mary Portas, are among those who point to evidence that the “clock is being turned back on Britain’s working women”. 

It also urges the government to halt the reversal by “properly assessing the impact the pandemic has had on women’s lives in the UK”. 

The group is calling for a temporary cut to VAT for hair and beauty salons down to 5%, from 20%, in line with the VAT relief offered to the hospitality sector. 

It too is asking the government to continue the business rates holiday to the end of the pandemic, and to lower it to 50% afterwards.

The letter adds: “These actions would show the government’s commitment to backing business women in Britain, and that the female workforce is considered as a vital part of the UK’s recovery plan”.

The calls comes as Sunak is tasked with finding an extra £43 billion to plug a vast hole created by the pandemic while also allowing the economy to recover.

The budget is expected to outline a series of large spending commitments including a £5 billion fund to provide grants to high street stores, pubs, restaurants and personal service firms such as hairdressers, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

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