Business Rates Changes Come into Effect Today

From today, the new business rate multiplier will take effect. The multiplier has risen by 2% to 49.3p in England. This 2% increase is due to the cap on rates increases imposed by Government until 2016 – the rates increase would otherwise have been 2.3% in accordance with the September 2014 rate of RPI. Also from today, business rates will be fully devolved to Wales. This means that the revenue from business rates collected in Wales will remain there, and be redistributed amongst Welsh local authorities.

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Plaid Cymru Announce Manifesto Pledges Ahead of 2015 Election

The Welsh party, Plaid Cymru, have released their full manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election on 7th May, calling for increases to the minimum wage and reduction in business rates.

In their manifesto, Plaid Cymru want to increase to the minimum wage and implement sanctions against companies not keeping to it to create a living wage. They would also seek to raise the National Insurance threshold to sit in line with the income tax threshold.

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Brandon Lewis Visits Local Store to Discuss Investment and Employment Issues

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis visited local retailers Simone and Peter Calnon on Friday morning to discuss the changes they’ve made to meet the needs of customers and the regulatory issues they face in their business.

The two Spar Foodmarkets stores are a part of a family business, having been established in 1987 by Peter’s parents. Simone and Peter have won national awards for their store, as well as being highly active in their local communities. Since January 2000, the stores have donated over £21,000 to national and local charities.

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Labour Launch Business Manifesto

Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband, launched Labour’s Business Manifesto this week, which included a range of pledges on business rates, zero-hour contracts and energy bills that Labour would pursue if they win the next election.

The most notable announcements included cutting business rates for the first year of the next parliament and then freezing them, helping more than 1.5 million small businesses, this would be funded by scrapping planned Corporation Tax reductions.

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Tobacco Smuggling Strategy Needs More Ambitious Targets

HMRC and The UK Border Force have released a new tobacco smuggling strategy this week; “Tackling illicit tobacco: From leaf to light”.  The new strategy highlights that revenue loss from illegal tobacco stands at £2.1 billion however the Government states its medium term ambition is to “hold the cigarettes illicit market share at or below 10%”.

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ACS Welcomes Age Restrictions on Nicotine Inhaling Products

The House of Lords have approved the draft Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015. This will mean that from the 1st October 2015, it will be illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 in England and Wales.

The regulations will:

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ACS Calls for Positive Measures to Support the High Street

ACS has responded to the Royal Society for Public Health’s report on the high street, calling for positive measures to support innovation on the high street instead of regulatory interventions.

The report, “Health on the High Street” released today, focuses much of its attention on restricting the activity of fast food outlets, betting shops and payday lenders, but also calls for the following interventions which would have an impact on convenience stores:

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Main Parties Pledge Not to Increase VAT

The Conservative and Labour parties have announced that they would not raise VAT if they were to come into power after the general election in May.

David Cameron pledged that there will be no VAT rise during Prime Minister’s Questions after the Labour leader challenged him to explicitly rule out increasing the tax.

During a speech in Birmingham, Labour’s Ed Balls made a pledge not to increase the tax. He said “We will not put up VAT. And we will not extend it to food, children’s clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares”.

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