The newly appointed chair of the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) has spoken out against the recent budget, calling it a ‘disaster’ for small high street pet stores.
Referring to the announcement last week by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, that business rates would not be reduced for small businesses, Steve Fowler, former MD of PamPurred Pets with 35 years’ experience in pet retail, criticised the budget explaining that it did very little for beleaguered pet stores.
Steve said: ‘Whilst the government claims to support smaller, independent shops, decisions announced in last week’s budget clearly demonstrate that it is not a level playing field on the high street! Internet giants such as Amazon are paying far less in business rates per square foot than many of our ‘bricks and mortar’ retail members. The government really does need to sort this mess out and organise a separate system of business taxation for the retail sector, perhaps linked to sales value, as has been the case for pubs.
He continued: ‘The current system of linking business rates to rent is in need of a complete over-haul and has been unfair for many years. If nothing is done, high street businesses will continue to feel enormous economic pressure, with the inevitable consequence that some will be forced to close down, eroding the lifeblood of town centres.
‘PIF will be doing their utmost to try and encourage the Government to rethink and implement a fairer system’, he concluded.