The British Retail Consortium has launched a manifesto for the upcoming election calling for the next government to support the retail industry.
The key priorities outlined in “A Vision for The UK Retail Industry” are:
- Relieve the business rates burden by scrapping “downwards transition”, which takes £1.3bn from retailers every five years.
- Reform the Apprenticeship Levy to allow greater flexibility to spend on any form of accredited training.
- Protect hard-working shopworkers by bringing forward legislation to safeguard the 115 retail workers who are attacked every day.
The BRC says the retail industry generates £17bn in business taxes, driving 5.1% productivity growth across the industry, compared with just 0.5% in the UK as a whole. The industry is the largest private sector employer, with 3 million people directly employed in retail, and many more reliant on the industry.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the British Retail Consortium said: “‘A Vision for The UK Retail Industry’ offers a path to empowering our shops, our shopworkers and our communities. Political parties should grasp this chance for reform. The General Election is a unique opportunity to address many of the imbalances that are adversely affecting retailers. Imbalances that have led to job losses and store closures up and down the country.
“Fixing the broken business rates system and reforming the Apprenticeship Levy would help unlock the necessary investment into skills, stores and online necessary to allow retail to thrive.”