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Save our shops: Two new reports expose the depth of the crisis on our high streets - Usdaw calls for a retail industrial strategy

Date: 10 June 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw calls on the Government to adopt the union’s industrial strategy for retail, which was launched last week in Parliament, after two reports today show that retail footfall is slowing down and consumers fear for the future of the high street.
New data from the British Retail Consortium has revealed a worrying 3.5% fall in the number of shoppers visiting stores and retail parks last month, with the high street hardest hit where footfall was down by 4.8%. Also a survey of 1,000 UK consumers, by KIS Finance, shows that 61% are worried that the high street will disappear completely over the next ten years.
Usdaw’s ‘Save Our Shops’ campaign promotes an 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
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Today’s reports are shocking yet regrettably unsurprising as the depth of the UK’s retail crisis is yet again laid bare. We are joining with the retail employers who are calling for a number of key measures to tackle the crisis on our high streets, including a reform of business rates to help level the playing field between online and ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers.
“The retail sector is experiencing turbulent and challenging times. Employing around 3 million people it contributes 11% to the UK economic output; so it is clear that the challenges affecting the retail sector have a huge knock on effect, impacting the UK economy and a significant number of workers.
“We need from the Government a clear and coherent strategy for the retail sector, to address the worries and concerns of retail workers and our members. We hope Usdaw’s retail strategy will be a catalyst for a combined and concerted effort to tackle the growing retail crisis and save our shops.”
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 420,000 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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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers