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Chancellor urged to reduce key cost threats
Feb '08
With retailers facing mounting costs and indicators increasingly showing a worsening economic outlook for 2008, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is calling on the Chancellor to use the Budget to ease the pressure and ensure a soft landing for the economy.

Consumer spending has been a driving force for the economy over the last decade. But retailers, large and small, are now being squeezed by a range of rising costs.

The BRC says, while some, such as fuel and world commodity prices, are largely outside Government control, the Chancellor does have the power to remove a number of key cost threats on Budget day.

Today (Wednesday), with exactly three weeks to go until he delivers his first budget, the BRC is asking Alistair Darling to take action in two key areas:

1) Reward retailers' environmental achievements
Retailers take their environmental responsibilities seriously and encourage their customers and suppliers to do the same. Tougher trading conditions have led to tightening margins, so Government support for retailers' environmental record is even more pressing.

The BRC is calling for:
- The retailers who will be included in the Government's new plans to reduce business emissions, to be given the same incentives to invest in renewables as energy companies
(Retailers do not get the same credit for switching to renewable energy that electricity companies do)

- Reduced VAT on energy efficient products, such as low energy light bulbs and no EU import tariffs on them, to make them more affordable for customers and support retailers' efforts at promoting these goods

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