BUSINESS leaders have said Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's "plethora" of announcements will have "only a limited impact" on Scottish consumers and businesses.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said many aspects of the significant fiscal proposition, described as a mini-budget but presenting the greatest tax cuts since the 1970s, would be welcome.

These included cutting VAT on visitor spend and the reversal of the decision to increase national insurance contributions.

PwC said retail, consumer and leisure companies "facing a perfect storm of headwinds with a likely contraction in real consumer spending and inflation across the cost base" are "still waiting to hear about any other cost measures such as business rates".

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "With the UK Government accelerating its planned reduction in the headline rate of income tax, bringing it forward to next April, Scottish ministers should ensure workers on low or modest earnings here in Scotland benefit similarly to boost household incomes and encourage discretionary spending.

“Furthermore, today’s announcement provided no insight on what decisions might be made on business rates.

"Scottish retailers alone are facing a £60 million uplift in their rates bills next April.

"The upcoming Emergency Budget Review and Scottish Budget need to freeze the business rate and speed up the commitment to restore the level playing field with England on the higher property business rate.”

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets lead at PwC, said in retail, consumer and leisure "the tax reductions and investment for growth should help the consumer longer term and short term energy cost support is important but the sector is still waiting to hear about any other cost measures such as business rates".

"They will be holding their breath until the main budget given the risk around increasing rates from inflation."

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said: “Tackling rising economic inactivity is a key part of ensuring the UK can grow. But it is a complex issue. REC members remain unconvinced that benefit sanctions can do the job – there is no point forcing someone to an interview they are unprepared for.

"We are similarly sceptical about further regulating the process of employers negotiating with trade unions in workplaces, as this could lengthen disputes even more."


£15m sale of Edinburgh properties hailed as boost to city 's retail sector

THREE retail and office properties on Edinburgh’s George Street, where tenants include a range of upmarket retailers, have been acquired after being put up for sale for around £15 million.

Broadlands Properties has acquired 86, 88 and 90-92 George Street from a client of CBRE Investment Management.


​Historic paper mill's administration 'immensely troubling'

THE administration of an historic paper company has been described as  "immensely troubling" for Scottish manufacturing.

Arjowiggins Group UK subsidiaries, which owns and operates two mills in the UK, in Stoneywood, Aberdeen, and Chartham, Kent, appointed administrators on Thursday evening.


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Main Picture: Glasgow, Colin Mearns. Inset: Kwasi Kwarteng, House of Commons/PA Wire