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Government needs to do more to 'save our shops' - Usdaw disappointed with today's response to a parliamentary debate on the retail crisis

Date: 10 July 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw remains disappointed that 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) 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’.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “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.
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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