CLASS Panel Reacts to the 2018 Budget

CLES Senior Researcher Victoria Bettany took part in the Centre for Labour and Social Studies panel reacting to the 2018 Budget.

Victoria said:

“The budget that saved the High Street?

Doesn’t feel like it. Today Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced a plethora of new spending on the back of improving growth reports from the OBR. Amongst them was a promise to reduce the business rates bills of many small businesses that populate our high streets by one third. This will be music to the ears of many occupiers of British High Street stores.

The Chancellor also announced a pot of money for local government to use to help spruce up tired looking High Streets.

But what this budget failed to do for the High Street was to provide it with any protection from the seismic shift to online retail. The Chancellor did announce his intention to introduce a Digital Services Tax to ensure that digital global corporates, the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook pay their fair share of tax in the UK. Even if these companies do pay their fair share of tax, it leaves you wondering what help this will be to the local high street and what if any impact this tax will have on the shift to online retail.

The issue of our declining High Streets is a pernicious one. The introduction of a new tax for Digital Global Corporates, whilst a hugely positive (and long overdue) step in terms of fairer taxation of businesses, looks to be severely lacking in tools to revive the British High Street.”

Read the full Panel responses from Richard Murphy, Professor of Practice in International Political Economy, City, University of London; Dr Kailash Chand OBE, Honorary Vice President of BMA; and Diane Reay, Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge, here.