Wet summer blamed for high street woes

The wash-out start to the summer added to the woes of the high street and triggered a 10.3% rise in retail collapses between April and June.

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How the Chancellor's Budget plans to help business

  • New Employment Allowance will take the first £2,000 off the employer National Insurance bill of every company in the country
  • Around 450,000 small businesses - one third of all employers - will pay no employer National Insurance at all after introduction of Employment Allowance in April next year
  • Small firms will be given help through Government procurement budgets, growth vouchers and controls on regulators' charges
  • The Capital Gains Tax holiday will be extended
  • Corporation tax to be reduced by a further 1% to 20% in April 2015
  • Small company and main rates of corporation tax merged at 20p

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Cut in corporation tax but nothing on business rates

by - Former Business Editor
The Chancellor delivering his Budget Credit: PA Wire/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Corporation tax will go down to 20p by 2015 - that will be very welcomed.

It is not entirely unexpected but it will be popular with business. It does not sound like there will be any action on business rates though.

Remember that businesses pay more than twice as much in other taxes than they do in corporation tax.

The problem is that Infrastructure money, childcare support and corporation tax are all measures coming in after 2015. Those clamouring for action now will not be happy.

Corporation tax rate 'very good for UK business'

Steven Bruck, a partner at Blick Rothenberg Chartered Accountants, says: "Corporation Tax will come down one per cent from April 2015.

"For the first time in many years there will be a single rate of Corporation Tax at an internationally competitive rate of 20 per cent. This is very good for business and as an encouragement for inward investment in the UK."

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Attempt to revive Comet included profit plan say owners

Comet owners OpCapita issued a statement on the failed retailer saying its plan to rescue the firm included measures to improve the profitability of the business.

We will of course assist fully with any inquiry and welcome the opportunity to provide BIS with factual information relating to the circumstances which led to Comet entering administration.

Deloitte published yesterday its Initial Report to Creditors of Comet Group Ltd which already includes detailed information and commentary on the events leading up to the appointment of administrators.

In addition the report sets out the detail of the turnaround plan for Comet which included a series of measures designed to improve the profitability of the business.

– OpCapita statement on Comet

The statement added that once administration is completed, Deloitte will issue a full public report to creditors.

Cable says serious allegations warrant Comet inquiry

by - Former Business Editor

Vince Cable has denied that the action taken to save failed retailer Comet was too little too late. He said social and economic collapse have also been very significant.

But he has admitted that people would expect the government to investigate what happened after the private equity firm, OpCapita bought the company last year for one pound. The firm will reportedly walk away with up to £50 million.

He adds that there are allegations both significant and serious enough to warrant proper inquiry.

Empty shops at record levels sets 'alarm bells ringing'

One in 10 shops in UK high streets and shopping centres were empty in October as retailers battle against stagnating sales and rising costs, a survey has found.

One in 10 high street shops were left empty, the survey found Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the town centre vacancy rate of 11.3% was the worst figure since its nationwide survey began in July 2011.

A fifth of store units are currently empty in Northern Ireland, while the rate for Wales is 15.1% and for the North & Yorkshire region the rate is 14.6%. Greater London had 7.6% of its units lying empty.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said the new figures would set "alarm bells ringing" as it confirmed the financial challenges for both customers and retailers were far from over.

Big brands including JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game and Peacocks have either disappeared or scaled back their presence in town centres after going into administration.

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