"An empty Budget from an empty Treasury" is how BHF Group has described Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget.

Retailers slam Budget VAT and credit insurance plans

“An empty Budget from an empty Treasury” is how BHF Group has described Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget.

Retailers slam Budget VAT and credit insurance plans

BHF managing director Alan Hawkins said that there was “little or nothing in it for either consumers or retailers”.

The trade body had proposed that the Budget should extend the period of 15% VAT, arguing that the return to 17.5% should not take place at the turn of the year.

It suggested that with the receding date of recovery foreseen by the Chancellor “the reversion would be best left until the crisis has passed and recovery is well underway, not to be undone by the sudden increase to 17.5%. Rather than extending the period by just 15 weeks, BHF Group believes that it should be extended by a full 15 months, to April 2011.”

BHF Group says that the opportunity still exists and the government should take full advantage of it.

Hawkins also criticised the government’s move on credit insurance as “both overdue and underdone”.

Announcing the new scheme yesterday, the Chancellor said that businesses whose insurance has been reduced since April 1 would be able to buy six months of insurance from the government from May until the end of the year.

But the plan was also given the thumbs-down by the British Retail Consortium. “A ‘top-up’ scheme is much needed but this is too little too late,” said Jane Milne, BRC business director.

“Insurers began removing cover as the downturn started to bite this time last year. The Government’s scheme should apply from then.”

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