Scottish Retail Consortium makes Budget recommendations

busy high street

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has published its recommendations for the Scottish Government’s 2022-2023 Budget, calling for action to stimulate consumer spending and support hard-pressed businesses.

SRC has submitted its six-page Budget paper – ‘Stimulating A Sustainable Retail Recovery’ – to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP, who is expected to publish the government’s tax and spending plans later this year.

The SRC have called for:

  • Action to stimulate consumer spending and entice people back to city centres.
  • A modest further discount to business rates in 2022-2023.
  • Early progress towards restoring the level playing field with England on the rates supplement applied to larger commercial premises.
  • A pause on introducing workplace parking levies and rejection of a ban on shops from trading on New Year’s Day.
  • Clarity over the proposed new company reporting obligations outlined in the recent accord with the Green Party.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Swathes of Scotland’s retail industry are in a parlous state. A sixth of shop units are vacant, footfall is a fifth down on pre-pandemic trading, and sales have yet to climb back to pre-pandemic levels. That indicates the pressure on the industry, but also an opportunity. If we can encourage consumers back to normal spending patterns that will kick-start a recovery for shops, eateries, and suppliers. The last few years have seen the Scottish Budget promote growth and support business – it’s vital that continues this year.”