Retailers have welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, which includes a raft of measures that will help local shops.

The key measures in the Autumn Statement are:

  • A discount of £1,000 on business rates for all retail premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000,
  • A 2% cap on business rates increases for all non-domestic rateable premises  from April 2014,
  • A 50% discount on rates bills for all businesses occupying an empty premises,
  • Employer NICs have been removed for all employees under 21,

The Chancellor also announced there will be a registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers to tackle alcohol fraud. The register will be run by HM Revenue and Customs, and will take effect in 2016.

From 2014, alcohol retailers will be required to take ‘reasonable steps to ensure that their suppliers and customers are legitimate’.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan told betterRetailing that this is something retailers need to know about and prepare for, but that ACS is working closely with HMRC to ensure any burden for local shops is minimised.