Budget 2020: Retail & Wholesale Sector Summary

Roberto Lobue - Menzies Accountant

Roberto Lobue – Retail & Wholesale Specialist

This was a budget set against the background of the Coronavirus epidemic, for the Chancellor to provide the fiscal support to impacted businesses and services, while planning for the Government’s long-term priorities.

This was a budget to turn the spending taps on full: to invest in public services and to provide the promised Infrastructure Revolution; for ‘levelling-up’ opportunity across regions of the country that have supported the Conservative Party for the first time. Overall, it will be seen as good news for businesses, although there were relatively few tax measures overall with the majority of attention focussed on spending.

The key Budget 2020 takeaways for the UK retail & wholesale sector

Generally it was a positive budget for Retail with a lot of money promised to stimulate the economy in what is quite a scary time for them with the risk that coronavirus will stop people from going into shops.

Retail business rates

The big news for retailers is that business rates will be abolished for firms in the retail sector with a rateable value below £51,000. This is a really good thing and something that we were hoping and pushing for pre-budget. The downside is that it won’t necessarily help retailers in London where rateable values are potentially higher than this amount

When it comes to Coronavirus, there is help for retailers, with “business interruption” loans of up to £1.2m being made available for smaller firms. Sick pay will also be available to workers from day one of self-isolation, whether they have symptoms or not and firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks.

The only thing is that these will not apply to bigger retailers.

However, the chancellor did say that business rates as a whole would be reviewed later in the year which we really welcome as the system has become outdated

So, in summary, lots of good things for smaller retailers but less help being provided to the bigger chains and no concrete news on exactly what will happen with business rates but a future review is welcome. The big unknown is the impact coronavirus will have.

To discuss any of the above or the implications of Budget 2020 on you or your retail and wholesale business, please contact your Menzies Relationship Partner.

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