The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has set out a list of key changes which it claims would help the next government to better support the UK’s retail industry.

High Street NA

It wants the government to bring forward legislation to better protect shopworkers from attacks, to “relieve the business rates burden” by scrapping ‘downwards transition’ and to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, “to allow greater flexibility to spend on any form of accredited training.”

‘A Vision for The UK Retail Industry’ also outlines measures to reform funding for digital skills and tackle online fraud in a bid to ensure that the retail industry continues to support local communities and jobs “up and down the country”.

According to the BRC, the UK retail industry accounts for 5% of the economy and contributes £98.4bn GVA.

Last year alone, £1bn was invested into research and development as well as a further £1.1bn into new technologies.

“At the same time, the industry has faced high rates of store closures and job losses and the 12-month average retail sales growth currently sits at just 0.1%, the lowest on record. The next government must do more if retail is to be the vision of success it sets out to be,” the BRC said.

“The General Election is a unique opportunity to address many of the imbalances that are adversely affecting retailers. Imbalances that have led to job losses and store closures up and down the country.

“Fixing the broken business rates system and reforming the Apprenticeship Levy would help unlock the necessary investment into skills, stores and online necessary to allow retail to thrive,”