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Spring Statement must tackle the cost of living crisis, deliver a new deal for workers and help to save our shops says Usdaw

Date: 17 March 2022 Retail trade union Usdaw is challenging the Chancellor to make a real difference to the lives of low-paid workers and a struggling retail industry in his Spring Statement next week, on Wednesday 23 March.
Usdaw is calling on the Chancellor to address these key issues in his Spring Statement:
  • Help for the lowest paid with the cost of living crisis by scrapping the NI increase and providing more assistance with rising fuel and energy costs.
  • Ensure work pays with a new deal for workers, a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour immediately and an end to insecure contracts.
  • Reform Universal Credit so that low-paid workers have a proper social security system that they can rely on.
  • Introduce a windfall tax on the huge profits of North Sea oil and gas producers, and use the money to protect the most vulnerable.
  • Develop a retail recovery plan to tackle the immediate crisis on our high streets, help save jobs and tackle long-term structural issues in the retail industry. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Too many low-paid key workers, who kept the country going through the pandemic, were already struggling to make ends meet and now find themselves in a cost of living crisis. In a recent members’ survey, over three-quarters said they are now worse off than last year, with most of them relying on unsecured borrowing to pay bills and over half now struggling to keep up with repayments. They need clear action from Government.
 
“Next Wednesday the Chancellor has the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of key workers who were essential to us getting through the pandemic. They are looking for him to scrap the National Insurance increase due in April; increase financial support for those facing fuel poverty, funded by a windfall tax on highly profitable energy companies; develop a proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net, and immediately increase the minimum wage to at least £10 for all workers.
 
“Walking down any high street we can all see that the retail sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Usdaw is looking for the Government to work with unions and businesses to develop an urgent recovery plan for retail, looking at the wider pressures facing the sector such as business rates, rents and lease arrangements. This plan should also include continued support for local authorities to help them revitalise their local high street, making them hubs for our communities.
 
“We urgently need to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retail, something Usdaw and many major retailers have called on the Government to do. A 1% online sales levy could raise around £1.5 billion and fund a 20% cut in the current outdated and imbalanced commercial property tax.
 
“A retail recovery plan must also recognise the contribution of the people who work in the industry. For too long retail has been a byword for low pay and insecure jobs. If we want retail to prosper, we need to make sure that retail jobs are good jobs. We hope the Chancellor is listening.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
 
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers Campaign: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/A-New-Deal-for-Workers
 
Usdaw’s Save our Shops Campaign: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Save-Our-Shops-(1)
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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