The last Budget of this Parliament, expected next month, must concentrate on public spending cuts and not tax increases, insists the British Retail Consortium.
The BRC’s submission to the Chancellor says retailers believe that Government moves to deal with the Budget deficit should prioritise cutting non-essential public spending over tax rises – or risk a return to recession.
The submission, published today, says: “The key challenge for the Government in the Budget is to outline a credible plan for addressing the fiscal deficit without precipitating a ‘double dip’ recession…A significant focus must be on driving efficiency and productivity in the public sector…there is a need to review all options, including ceasing areas of activity …and de-commissioning services that Government can ill afford to continue.”
Commenting on the submission, the BRC’s director general Stephen Robertson, said: “The size of the country’s deficit means action must be taken. To nurture our fledgling recovery, the main tool for dealing with the deficit has to be cutting non-vital public sector spending.
“Some tax rises maybe inevitable, but no Government should rely on tax hikes to reduce borrowing. The increases would have to be so large that customers’ ability to spend would be wrecked – risking a double dip recession.”
The BRC is also calling for the 1% increase in National Insurance planned for 2011 to be scrapped, for this year’s National Minimum Wage increase to be no higher than 1% and for a series of measures to make property more affordable.