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Usdaw welcomes retailers working together to lobby the Government for business rate reform

Date: 13 August 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed a letter to the Chancellor, signed by over 50 retailers calling the Government to fix the "broken" business rates system. The Union’s own Industrial Strategy for Retail calls for the Government to commit to providing a fair, proportionate and modern business rates system that works for all sectors.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “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 address the worries and concerns of shopworkers and our members, so we welcome the focus from retail employers, co-ordinated by the British Retail Consortium,  on the need for fundamental reform of the business rate system, which is clearly not fit for purpose.

“Usdaw wants to see a system that ensures common principles apply to all businesses whether operating online, from physical premises or with a combination – something that the current system does not deliver on. How this is achieved is open to debate but what we are clear on is that any revenues raised through such a system must be reinvested back into the sector. We believe that the idea of an online transaction tax needs to be given careful consideration as part of a wider review of the tax system.

“Usdaw is calling for the Government to take action to tackle the crisis in retail. Usdaw has developed an Industrial Strategy for Retail and we urgently need the Government to consider and adopt the measures contained in it. Retail and our high streets are at the heart of our communities and every job lost is a blow. I call on the Government to engage with us to find a solution to the retail crisis we are facing.”

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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