I want to believe that Liz Truss is serious about rates relief for retailers, following the announcement that her team has started talking to industry lobbyists. Shout out to Helen Dickinson at the BRC.
As anyone knows how government works, this is a long way from any sort of cross-party committee to look into this, the next stage in the process that in itself can take years to end up doing nothing. Add to this the Tory government’s record over the last 12 years of talking big but achieving very little. Then add the fact that Truss will more or less say anything that appeals to the 0.04% of the electorate (Tory Party members) that will vote her into power against the wishes of let’s say over 80% of the rest of the electorate.
So you can probably already work out that my faith in this actually coming to anything is less than zero. But then I am used to government doing very little to support retail, despite the best efforts of the BRC and other high street support groups, despite the fact that retail is still the single biggest private sector employer in the UK.
In the interests if trying to say something useful rather than simply being a grinch, my advice to retailers would be either to club together and create mass protest based around not paying rates at all, or thinking about a future on the high street where rates remain high. Naturally, this will destroy and entire echelon of retailers, mainly independents and small businesses, but sadly the weakest sector of retail in terms of its political representation.