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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on the UK government to introduce a standalone offence for assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker, and for the immediate freeze of rates revenues for the sector in its Manifesto for Retail.

The trade association also wants to see greater flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy to enable retailers to play a greater role in training and upskilling colleagues. Increased investment is also needed in programmes to improve functional, digital and green skills.

Furthermore, it stressed that a clear strategy for delivering a circular economy is required, with regulations sequenced to deliver the maximum benefit without burdening consumers and businesses. The BRC wants to see a “fit for purpose” recycling and waste scheme.

As it set out its goals for the industry, the BRC stressed to any future UK government that retail is the ‘everywhere economy’ with retailers in every city, town, and village providing vital services and employment. It explained that the industry is already a socioeconomic powerhouse to the UK, contributing £99.5bn to the economy every year and providing around three million jobs. But it has the potential to go even further.

“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,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC.

“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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