Usdaw “disappointed” with government’s response to High Street crisis

Usdaw says it is “disappointed” the government didn’t offer more help to a retail industry in crisis, provide a clear and coherent strategy to ‘save our shops’ or even offer to meet the union to discuss their Industrial Strategy for Retail.

Introducing the Westminster Hall debate on ‘Developing a retail strategy for the future’, Liz Twist MP (Labour, Blaydon) yesterday called on the government to provide a vision for the future of retail and to meet with Usdaw to help develop that and incorporate the union’s Industrial Strategy for Retail.

Many MPs backed those calls and urged the government to take urgent and substantial action to tackle the high street crisis, describing the current policy as little more than a ‘sticking plaster’.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We are grateful to MPs for their widespread support for our ‘Save our Shops’ campaign and the Industrial Strategy for Retail that it promotes. The government has so far failed to tackle the ongoing crisis on our high streets and, while acknowledging there are challenges to be addressed, today they again missed the chance to make a substantial difference. We need action, not just warm words.

“Our high streets are in crisis, with jobs being lost due to shops closing, retailers folding and businesses engaging in significant restructuring to survive. We need the government to go much further to address the worries and concerns of shopworkers and our members.

“Usdaw’s Retail Strategy should be a catalyst for a combined and concerted effort to tackle the growing retail crisis and help to save our shops. It was very disappointing that the Minister didn’t mention Usdaw once, let alone engage with our Strategy.”

Usdaw’s ‘Save Our Shops’ campaign promotes our Industrial Strategy for Retail, which proposes detailed and evidence led policies, centred on three key areas:

  • Economy and community – changing the economic framework on everything from car parking to rates, rents and reforming the tax system to create a level playing field between online and ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers.
  • People and productivity – improving productivity by addressing low pay and insecure work, while giving staff a say in the future of the business they work for and on the introduction of new technology.
  • Retail jobs are proper jobs – challenging perceptions about retail work and promoting the idea that retail jobs are ‘proper jobs’. Seeking a greater focus from government on the retail industry and ensuring shopworkers are valued.


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