Industry makes its budget case

• Greater predictability sought over the minimum wage
• Calls for measures to encourage retail investment

Chancellor George Osborne – retailers want support allowance.
Chancellor George Osborne – retailers want support allowance.
WITH the budget just around the corner industry bodies have been putting their arguments to the chancellor and employment costs are high on all the lists.
Policy and public affairs manager of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation John Lee had an eye on staff costs but also looked ahead to the devolution of some taxation.
He said: “With new powers on taxation coming to the Scottish government the UK budget will become less important for retailers in Scotland.
“But we urge the chancellor to commit to maintaining the employment support allowance which can save businesses thousands of pounds in employers’ NI contributions.
“He should also reinstate the percentage threshold scheme to allow businesses to reclaim the money they have to spend on staff sick pay.”
The British Retail Consortium submission highlights energy regulation affecting retailers, business rates and income tax on low earners.
Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: “We want to see greater predictability over the future direction for the national minimum wage.
“Growth in average pay is now outstripping inflation for the first time in five years and the chancellor should build on this with measures which boost disposable incomes and which encourage retailers to invest.”
In its submission the Association of Convenience Stores also highlighted the minimum wage.
And it asks the chancellor to look at business rates and the cost of duty fraud.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: ““Recent posturing on the minimum wage from politicians on all sides is unwelcome.
“We are calling for the retention of an independent Low Pay Commission to make recommendations on the minimum wage free from political pressure.”