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    Retailers demand ‘business-friendly approach’ in manifesto ahead of elections

    (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

    A leading retailers’s body today (23) has launched its manifesto for the retail industry ahead of this year’s general election.

    British Retail Consortium’s manifesto for retail, “Accelerating Investment in the Everywhere Economy”, lays out a vision for a better retail future with net zero, digitally transformed industry which provides higher skilled, better paid jobs and an improved shopping experience for customers.

    To help realise this vision, BRC suggests three major fixes:

    • More coordinated approach to tax and regulation: The cost burden on retail is rising with the recent Autumn Statement alone increasing costs by £4 billion. We need a plan for the industry that recognises the cumulative burden of government policy and the impact this has on investment and growth.
    • Jobs: retail jobs are becoming more digital and higher skilled, and skills policy needs to evolve so the industry can train its workforce for new roles. This means reform to the Apprenticeship Levy so funds can be used to meet a wider range of training needs, including short courses, pre-employment training, and backfilling roles. As it stands, approximately half of retail’s estimated £250m levy contribution goes unspent, because it can’t be spent on the training the industry needs.
    • Net zero and the circular economy: policies are needed to support retailers’ investment in the tech we need to get to net zero. And with recycling rates in the UK languishing at just 44%it is vital that new waste and resources regulation provides meaningful improvements to recycling rates and the use of recyclable materials, without unnecessarily raising costs for consumers.

    Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said, “The UK has one of the most developed retail offerings in the world, employing three million people and playing a key role in every community in the country.

    “As political parties gear up for the next election, we need a different way of working with government so that we can use the industry’s size, scale and reach to deliver more. That means removing the blockages which hold the industry back, preventing it reaching its full potential. It’s time to support the upskilling of workers and accelerate our journey to net zero, while finding ways to address any unnecessary burdens on the industry and its sixty million customers.

    “By delivering a more business-friendly approach to retail, the industry can deliver on its own vision – a net zero, digitally transformed industry which provides higher skilled, better paid jobs and more investment in local communities. It’s time to unleash the industry’s size, scale and reach to drive greater positive change.”

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