Posted: 17/03/2016

Budget 2016 reaction: Shops and producers have their say

Rates bill
Businesses with a rateable value below £12,000 will receive 100% rate relief, the Chancellor announced

Guild of Fine Food members give us their verdict on George Osborne’s 2016 Budget, delivered on March 16, which saw support for small business through business rates and Corporation Tax, but a controversial new levy on sugary drinks.





“We are an artisan producer and retailer, with a business based in Narberth,Pembrokeshire. Business Rates is a devolved power in Wales, so no benefit to us at present.

“Will Wales follow The Chancellor’s Small Business Rate Relief Scheme? Welsh Labour have made an election pledge (ahead of the elections on May 2016) to support small business – but where is the detail?

“What are the political parties in Wales’ plans our to support small business following yesterday’s Budget?

“We would like to expand our retail space, but the existing [business rates] scheme means it isn’t not viable. If the Welsh Government implemented same scheme as announced today we could expand and support more artisan producers.”

Ivan Wilson, Fire & Ice, Narberth

“The increase in the threshold for not paying business rates to £12,000 rateable value is very welcome and will assist many independent shops and producers.

“This is particularly welcome because the incoming Living Wage increases will increase costs dramatically and will reduce the viability of food and service businesses who have to employ significant staff numbers and may not be able to pass the cost on.

“The reduction in Corporation Tax is positive, but the Chancellor will have his pound of flesh when profits are taken out of the business!

“Hopefully the sugar tax will not affect independents. However, we all have to look out for the effect of new nutrition labelling requirements coming in later in 2016 which could make small product runs unviable.”

Gavin Hamilton, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell, Apley Farm Shop

“It is not the adult soft drinks sold within the speciality food sector that cause obesity in the UK.  Is the Guild going to be campaigning on behalf of its members to have this tax exempt for SMEs?  If so, you will have my wholehearted support as many of our suppliers may struggle as a result as they won’t  want to pass on all the cost to retailers.”

Paul Hargreaves, chief executive, Cotswold Fayre

“This is probably as good a budget as we could have hoped for in the current economic climate. A cut in corporation tax is always welcome for a business. Lower tax and higher wages is a positive position to take.

“Changes to business rates makes premises and operational expansion a much easier prospect.

“I believe the move against sugary drinks is a sign of public policy to come. It’s a pro-health move; an indication of our changing view of food and drink, and is a positive sign for companies involved in healthier foods like tea.”

Jameel Lalani, founder, Lalani & Co

“The sugar tax on soft drinks is poorly thought through, and there is little if any evidence that it will achieve any material change in childhood obesity because most children also eat cakes, sweets and ice creams which are unaffected by the sugar tax. To give three examples why the tax is poorly thought through:

100% apple juice:
No sugar tax
Add 10% water to make it less sweet:
Sugar tax at higher rate

50% apple juice + 50% water (6g sugar/100ml):
Sugar tax at higher rate
Magnum ice cream (20g sugar/100g):
No sugar tax

Elderflower pressé (7.5g sugar/100g)
Sugar tax at lower rate
Bowl of Coco Pops (35g sugar/100g):
No sugar tax + no VAT”

Paul Bendit, director, Folkington’s Juices

“With the Luscombe range of drinks the effects of a sugar tax will be very small but it will help all consumers, as the industry will have to lean heavily away from sweetened sugary drinks.

“Hopefully those large two litre bottles of “soft drinks” sold in supermarkets will become a thing of the past.”

Gabriel David, founder & chairman, Luscombe Drinks

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