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    Independent retailers call for government to reduce cost burdens

    Cost of Living Crisis in a city setting under construction

    The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has said recent figures from the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index show that the government needs to do more to reduce cost burdens for businesses.

    Speaking about the report, which can be downloaded here, BIRA, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said that although shop price annual inflation had decelerated further to 6.9% in August, down from 7.6 per cent in July, food inflation was still in double digits.

    • Shop Price annual inflation decelerated further to 6.9 per cent in August, down from 7.6 per cent in July. This is below the 3-month average rate of 7.7 per cent. Shop price growth is at its lowest since October 2022. 
    • Non-Food inflation remained unchanged at 4.7 per cent in August. This is below the 3-month average rate of 5.0 per cent. Inflation is its lowest since December 2022. 
    • Food inflation decelerated to 11.5 per cent in August, down from 13.1 per cent in July. This is below the 3-month average rate of 13.6 per cent and is the fourth consecutive deceleration in the food category. Inflation is its lowest since September 2022. 
    • Fresh Food inflation slowed further in August, to 11.6 per cent, down from 14.3 per cent in July. This is below the 3-month average rate of 13.8 per cent and inflation in this category remains elevated. Inflation is its lowest since August 2022. 
    • Ambient Food inflation decelerated to 11.3 per cent in August, down from 12.3 per cent in July. This is below the 3-month average rate of 12.2 per cent and is the lowest since January 2023. 

    “While inflation has fallen again and this is very welcome, food inflation is still in double digits and that is worrying as it means less money being spent on discretionary items,” said Andrew Goodacre, BIRA CEO.

    “A recent report by the  Retail Sector Council showed that a 10 per cent rise in the cost of essential reduces discretionary expenditure by 72 per cent. This shows how difficult it is for the thousands of non-food independent retailers throughout the UK, compounded by a poor summer. This also means that the government must do all it can to reduce cost burdens which is why we want to see the current retail discount for business rates made permanent at 75 per cent.”

    Bira is actively pursuing a comprehensive reform of business rates in the UK to alleviate the burden on smaller enterprises. It has been engaging in discussions with members of Parliament, the Department of Business and Trade and the Treasury to champion the cause of making the 75 per cent discount a permanent fixture.

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