Devolved business rates, community-focused planning systems and the sugar tax will soon impact retailers, the Queen announced yesterday.
The levy on sugary soft drinks is set to be imposed from April 2018. A separate bill will enable local authorities to retain 100% of the business rates they collect, and combined authority mayors will have the power to use that revenue to fund infrastructure projects.
Local communities will also have more say over neighbourhood planning under the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.
Sunny Patel, owner of Sunny News in Southfields, London, is currently facing eviction from his shop so that his landlord can develop the property. Patel has been at the centre of a local campaign to save his store for several months, but under current legislation the community sentiment has not been considered by national planning authorities.
“I feel good about the changes outlined today, but unfortunately for my case this legislation is likely to come in too late,” he told Retail Express. “For future retailers this is good news.”
Patel added that he hopes the legislation laid out in the Queen’s speech will do more to protect and invest in retailers who are valued by their communities.
“We hope that the retention of business rates income by local authorities will encourage them to cut business rates and promote investment,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.
Meanwhile, the NFRN expressed disappointment that parliament will not be taking measures to tackle retail crime.
“It is also discouraging that there was no mention of any measures to protect or assist retailers with the ever increasing cost of running their business,” said NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter.