Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has urged the Chancellor to do more to support small retailers as part of the Autumn Budget.
Responding to an announcement by the Office for National Statistics of a 0.8% fall in UK retail sales during the month of September, Cherry said: “Today’s figures reflect the perfect storm of challenges facing our small retailers. Rising input costs, flagging consumer demand and chronic delays to business rates relief are all weighing on our high streets. A weak pound may be boosting our exporters but it’s proving to be a real drag on spending power.
“Then we have the Brexit element. One in five small employers has EU staff on their books – until these vital workers have concrete guarantees about their right to remain, retailers will be in a perpetual state of uncertainty. This will hamper their ability create new jobs in future.
“Confidence among small retailers has plummeted over the last two quarters. The Chancellor must step in at the Budget. The least he can do is ensure his £435 million package of rates relief measures is fully in place by 22 November.”
The 0.8% drop in September almost negates the 0.9% growth seen in the previous month.