Professor Isabelle Szmigin responds to the 2013 Autumn Statement


After backing a relatively unsuccessful export led revival of the UK economy, the Chancellor is back to a consumer led recovery although not one that is going to have consumers jumping for joy, especially when many will be facing longer working lives. Nevertheless consumers both young and old will have a bit more to spend after tax and not be having to spend it on further increases in fuel tax and rail fares is a modest benefit.

As the BBC's Nick Robinson has noted, this is a steady as she goes budget but at least there are no shocks for the consumer. The capping of business rate increases to 2% and the discount for small shops and pubs, alongside incentives for those taking over vacant shops is clearly aimed at revitalising the high street.

This is ok as far as it goes and may keep small businesses afloat for a little longer but it will not buck the long term trend of declining high streets. Ultimately these small changes are going to be a lot less significant to consumers and young consumers in particular compared to the impact in the increase in pensionable age. With cost of living increases continuing the chancellor will not be making much of a difference to the average consumer's disposable income.

Professor Isabelle Szmigin, Professor of Marketing, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham