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    Labour to bring changes for retailers

    (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

    Labour is determined to pass a new law to make a specific offence of assaults and abuse against shop workers, a party leader has said as the party pledged to cracking down on antisocial behaviour on high streets along with overhauling the business rates system in a bid to revitalise the high street, if it wins the general election.

    According to recent reports, the party manifesto, which is due to be released on Thursday (13), is expected to include laws to overhaul business rates.

    The party said it would replace the current system with a new one that will “level the playing field between the high street and online giants”.

    Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the BBC that Labour “want to reform the business rate system in a way that reduces the costs for small businesses and high streets, ensuring that some of the big multinationals and tech companies pay their fair share”.

    Labour is also determined to make the assault on shop workers a special offence.

    Speaking ahead of the publication of the party’s manifesto, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told The Mirror this weekend, “Labour is determined we will pass a new law to make a specific offence of assaults and abuse against shop workers and to make sure it’s taken seriously by the police.”

    “Take Back our Streets” is one of the five missions mentioned by Labour party. The party intend to tackle shoplifting gangs by ending the £200 rule brought in by the Tories which stops shop thefts under £200 being investigated – even if the same gang comes back time and again.

    The party states, “A Labour government will put 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs on our streets, halve violence against women and girls, and tougher sentences for rapists. The party will also introduce new ‘Respect Orders’, a tough new order with criminal sanctions for antisocial behaviour.”

    Shoplifting offenses recorded by police forces in England and Wales hit a record high of 1,000 a day last October, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Back in October last year, Labour pledged tougher punishments for retail crime as shadow Cooper said under the plans, all cases of shoplifting, regardless of their size, would be investigated by police.

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