Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new financial measures in his spring statement on 23 March.
Key changes include:
- Increasing the threshold for National Insurance from £9,880 to £12,570, coming into effect from July. However, the 1.25% rise in the rate of NI will still go ahead in April.
- An extra £500m injected into the Household Support Fund to support low-income households with food, energy and water bills.
- Zero VAT on energy-efficient measures carried out by homeowners, such as solar panels, insulation and heat pumps, for the next five years (except in Northern Ireland).
- Fuel duty cut by 5p per litre nationwide until March 2023.
- Basic rate of income tax to be cut from 20p to 19p in the pound before the end of 2024.
More action is needed from the government to boost the retail industry and its workforce, says Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust:
“We are very concerned about the impact that the rising cost of living is having on the millions of retail workers that the country has relied on throughout the pandemic but who are now struggling to make ends meet. Measures such as cutting fuel duty and raising the National Insurance threshold for lower earners should provide some relief for people now forced to make difficult decisions about whether to use money to pay for food, fuel or cover their rent and other bills.
“Retail has been hit hard by the pandemic, causing unprecedented job losses and a number of other financial and emotional pressures, leaving many people needing financial aid and mental health support and disillusioned about working in the sector as a result of the uncertainty of the last few years. The industry and the government must work together to provide its workforce with security, stability and a real sense of purpose in order for retail to recover and continue to play a vital role in the UK’s economy and tackling issues like social mobility and youth employment. ”
We are here to help
You can apply for financial aid from the Retail Trust if you have worked in retail for more than three months or have been made redundant or had to give up your job after more than three years working in the industry, so we urge anyone to get in touch with us.