Food retailers call for business rates freeze

first_imgLeading food and grocery retailers have united in a bid to urge the government to freeze business rates in 2013.Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, joined the heads of a number of grocery and food retailing businesses to sign a letter, written by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as part of its Fair Rates for Retail campaign, to the Financial Times.It comes as September’s Retail Price Index figure was announced this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealing a drop in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation from 2.5% in August to 2.2% last month. The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation for September also fell to 2.6%, from 2.9% in August.The letter reads: “If the government follows previous practice and translates it directly into next year’s business rates rise, as much as £200m will be added to the retail sector’s bills for 2013. This would follow eye-watering increases in both 2011 (4.6%) and 2012 (5.6%), a cumulative rise of more than half a billion pounds.“As the sector which pays the largest share of business rates (28% of the total), another steep successive rise would deal a blow to retailers’ ability to invest in stores and create jobs, especially in these tough trading conditions. That would mean more empty shops on high streets and fewer employment opportunities, especially for young people.”The letter adds that the retail sector has already given more than its fair share to the Exchequer, and the government should act on its commitment to review the mechanism by which rates are increased for a fairer playing field.In total, 14 retail leaders have come forward to show their support and sign the letter, including Andy Clarke and Dalton Philips, chief executives of Asda and Morrisons respectively, alongside Stephen Robertson, director general for the BRC.Robertson said: “This RPI announcement reveals the scale of the potential damage to our high streets that will follow if the government follows previous practice and translates it directly into next April’s rates increase.“The retail industry is the UK’s biggest private sector employer, providing crucial first jobs to a million 16- to 24-year-olds. Expecting retailers to bear a huge rates hike for the third year running can only lead to fewer chances of work, less investment and more troubled high streets.”last_img read more

Win over Cleveland State game of firsts for Wisconsin

first_imgAfter the Wisconsin football team dropped its lead and the game to Nebraska, the only victory of Saturday night came back in Madison, where the Wisconsin men’s soccer team topped Cleveland State by a score of 2-1. Although it was their 10th game of the season, the Badgers victory unveiled several firsts for the season.Badgers finally grab first home victoryWisconsin entered the match holding an 0-2-1 record at the McClimon Soccer Complex but was finally able to win its first home affair in front of a crowd of 545. Although it was the smallest home crowd of the season, Wisconsin finally settled in to its home stadium and finished the job for what head coach John Trask called the Badgers’ “truest fans.”“Considering that Wisconsin football was playing, it was a pretty impressive crowd,” Trask said. “Obviously we didn’t have the student section like we usually do, but there were a lot of youth and good soccer people from town [that came out].” It took four games to win one at home, but the Badgers have yet to reach the halfway point of their home schedule. Wisconsin still has five games to make it a very successful season within the confines of McClimon. The Badgers have beaten ranked opponents at home in each of the last two seasons – No. 22 Penn State in 2010 and No. 5 Indiana in 2011.Junior captain Chris Prince realized – in his 49 games of experience – if the Badgers are to be successful, it is rather important to win games at home. Following the victory, he said he sees significant room for the Badgers to improve in that aspect.“Playing at home should be like your home turf,” Prince said. “[Before the game] we hadn’t gotten a single win yet, which shouldn’t happen. We need to turn that around and start making this a tough place to play at.”UW gains adjusts to playing with leadOnly twice this season had the Badgers held a first half lead, and only one of those occasions ended in a Wisconsin victory.“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been down a goal this season,” Prince said following the victory.And while they’ve trailed at some point in almost every game, the Badgers have done a good job of rallying from deficits that, if not to win the game, at least force overtime.Playing with a lead was a situation Wisconsin was certainly not used to, but one the team greeted Saturday night.Senior forward Jerry Maddi opened up the scoring in the first half with his first career goal in the 29th minute, and midfielder Drew Conner tacked on another goal just before halftime.Cleveland State attacked throughout the second half and eventually connected with a late goal in the 86th minute. Given the Vikings’ ability to get close to scoring at the end, John Trask was pleased with the lead the offense was able to build.“You wouldn’t want to be leaving that team in the game at 0-0 in the second half,” Trask said. “It would have been a really tricky game at that point.”Conner gets back on track in new positionConner’s goal in the 43rd minute was his first goal since the season-opener against Memphis and came at a new position for him.The freshman is used to playing center midfielder for the Badgers, but a recent change has moved Prince into that position and Conner to the right midfielder spot. Playing at center-mid for most of the season, Conner noted most of his scoring opportunities came in rebound situations, making the opportunity to score more often something he particularly enjoys about his new position.“Going into this game and the new position, I knew that I wanted to score,” Conner said. “I knew that there would be more opportunities out there for me.”His goal wound up being the difference-maker for the Badgers in the single-goal decision. Prince touched the ball into the box to Blake Succa before Succa crossed it to Conner. The freshman finished off the play, squeaking the ball under the defender’s legs and the goalie’s outstretched arms.Some may figure it to be a luckier goal than most, but given his scoring drought, Conner wouldn’t have it any other way.“I don’t think it was lucky,” Conner said. “I’ll take it. A goal is a goal.”Follow Sean on Twitterlast_img read more