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Budget 2023: Usdaw calls for a new deal for workers and a retail recovery plan

Date: 06 February 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw has made a formal representation to HM Treasury for measures to be included in the 2023 Spring Budget on 15 March.
Following consultation with members, both directly and through their representatives in Usdaw, the union has developed policy suggestions to improve the lives of working people covering the following key areas: 
  • Retail recovery plan to help our high streets get back on their feet after Covid and compete effectively with online retail.
  • Cost of living crisis is having a severe impact on most workers who desperately need help to make ends meet.
  • New deal for workers to make work pay and end the insecure employment that leaves too many struggling with the cost of living.
  • Childcare is a big issue for working parents who often cannot afford sky-high private fees and need the state to make provision.
  • Universal credit and social security continues to not provide the safety net that many need and remains a disincentive to earn more. 
Full Usdaw submission: www.usdaw.org.uk/Budget2023
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The ongoing cost of living crisis is a key challenge for the Spring Budget, particularly in light of grim economic forecasts. Skyrocketing prices, along with huge increases in energy and fuel costs, leave too many workers struggling to make ends meet. Average household energy costs are set to rise by £500 per year in April, which amounts to a near trebling since last winter. So we need an increase in targeted support for low-income households and an end to rip-off prepayment meters. Labour is pledged to ratchet-up the windfall tax on hugely profitable energy companies to fund this additional much needed help.
“Short-term support with current cost of living pressures is crucial, but the Chancellor needs to look at lasting solutions with a new deal for workers. A new deal that makes work pay: with an immediate £12 per hour minimum wage for all workers, regardless of age, as a step towards £15. Alongside this, we need an end to one-sided flexibility, along with a ban on zero and short hours contracts to provide much needed security of employment and income. Labour will deliver a new deal for workers within the first 100 days of coming into government.
“The lack of affordable childcare is a huge challenge facing working parents, especially women, in balancing work with caring responsibilities. Tory inaction means many low-income parents simply cannot afford formal childcare and the Chancellor could reverse that next month. Workers need urgent and substantial reform to address the long-running childcare challenge. We welcome Labour’s commitment to a new system to give children the best start in life and parental choice, enabling them to get back into work or to increase their hours and give our economy the growth we need.
“Universal Credit remains universally discredited. Usdaw has consistently called for a fundamental overhaul of the Universal Credit system and how the Government supports the incomes of working people. We need social security that genuinely supports families and provides a proper safety net, which should be addressed in this Budget. Keir Starmer is right to acknowledge the need to reform our benefits system and it is clear that we will only achieve our aims under a Labour Government.
“For many years the retail sector, particularly the high street, has experienced significant and fundamental challenges. Covid and the cost-of-living crisis have both intensified these systemic problems. We were deeply disappointed that the Government rejected an online sales tax, which was also supported by many major retailers, and could have been used to fund a reduction in business rates. That terrible decision should be reversed in this upcoming Budget. Labour’s plan for the high street offers a far more substantial response to the situation than the Government’s sticking plasters.
“This Budget is a last chance for the Sunak Government to show that they are listening, but we are not confident that this sleaze-ridden and incompetent Government will offer the change our members need. Usdaw will continue to mobilise for a general election because only Labour has the policies and ideas that can put the country back on track.”
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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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