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    Trade union calls for retail recovery plan in Spring Budget

    Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

    Retail trade union Usdaw has made a formal representation to HM Treasury for measures to be included in the 2024 Spring Budget on March 6 calling for a plan for the future of retail and lasting solutions to tackle cost of living pressure.

    Following consultation with members, both directly and through their representatives in Usdaw, the union has developed policy suggestions to improve the lives of working people covering the following key areas:

    • A Plan for the Future of Retail to help our high streets get back on their feet and compete effectively with online retail.
    • Cost of living crisis continues to have a severe impact on most workers who need help to make ends meet.
    • New deal for workers to make work pay and end the insecure employment that leaves too many struggling with the cost of living.
    • Childcare reforms to help parents better balance their working life with their responsibilities at home.
    • Universal credit and social security do not provide the safety net that many need and remains a disincentive to earn more.

    Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says, “The ongoing cost of living crisis remains a key challenge for this Spring Budget. Rising prices, along with still very high energy costs, leave too many workers struggling to make ends meet. The Chancellor needs to look at lasting solutions to cost of living pressures with a new deal for workers. A new deal that makes work pay with a real living wage. Alongside this, we need an end to one-sided flexibility with a ban on zero and short hours contracts to provide much needed security of employment and income.

    “Universal Credit remains universally discredited. Usdaw has consistently called for a fundamental overhaul of the Universal Credit system and in how the Government supports the incomes of working people. We need social security that genuinely supports families and provides a proper safety net, which should be addressed in this Spring Budget. Parents need better and cheaper access to childcare, with the existing provision being largely unavailable and unaffordable for most low-paid workers.

    “For many years the retail sector, particularly the high street, has experienced significant and fundamental challenges. Covid and the cost-of-living crisis have both intensified these systemic problems. At the core of these issues is the uneven playing field between online and in-store retail, particularly regarding business rates. We need a commitment to a fundamental reform of business taxation affecting the retail sector.

    “This Budget is a chance for the Sunak Government to finally show that they are listening, but we are not confident that they will offer the change our members so desperately need. Our concern is that they will prioritise tax cuts for the rich over investment in crumbling services that most working people rely on. It is clear that it is time for a change and that can only come through a general election and a new government. For our members that cannot come too soon.”

    Full Usdaw submission: www.usdaw.org.uk/SpringBudget2024

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