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Labour commitment to empower councils to 'save our shops' is welcomed by Usdaw

Date: 16 August 2019 Shopworkers trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s announcement by Labour to give councils the power to reopen abandoned shops to “revive Britain’s struggling high streets”.
Under Labour’s proposals, Local Authorities will be able to turn “the blight of empty shops into the heart of the high street” by giving them over to start-ups, co-operative businesses and community projects.
 
Labour’s plans, which would apply to property left vacant for 12 months, would rejuvenate Britain’s high streets by bringing back into use some of the estimated 29,000 physical retail units which have been abandoned for more than 12 months.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw is promoting an industrial strategy to tackle the retail crisis, but we remain disappointed that the Government still hasn’t engaged with us. It is crucial that local authorities play a full role in reviving their own high streets, something we are calling for, so we very much welcome Labour’s commitment to empower councils.
 
“The retail industry is experiencing turbulent and challenging times. Employing around 3 million people and contributing 11% of UK economic output, it is clear that the retail crisis has a huge knock on effect, impacting the UK economy and a significant number of workers.
 
“We a need government-led clear and coherent strategy for retail, 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.
 
“As things stand it appears only a Labour Government would deliver the much needed and urgent policies that the retail industry desperately needs.”
 
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 real jobs - challenging perceptions about retail work and promoting the fact that retail jobs are real jobs that make a vital contribution to our communities and our economy. Seeking a greater focus from Government on the retail industry and ensuring shopworkers are valued. 
Usdaw’s industrial strategy for retail: www.usdaw.org.uk/retailstrategy
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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