In its manifesto published today, Retail Week calls on the next government to enable the continued growth of the British retail industry. The manifesto, ‘Strong Britain, Strong Retail’ is supported by many of the country's foremost retailers.
Retail continues to be one of the most thriving sectors in the UK, contributing to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery and as the nation’s biggest private sector employer. Retail Week, in representing the industry, states in the manifesto that it believes British retail’s success has often been ‘impeded or obstructed by government policies.’ It goes on to ask the next government to implement policies that create conditions for industry growth in the following five key areas:
- Education and digital skills
- Digital infrastructure
- International growth
- Business rates reform
As the UK’s biggest private sector employer, it is unsurprising that the first point addressed in the manifesto is employment. With research revealing 16% of 16 to 24 year-olds are unemployed; the manifesto outlines how the government can create employment opportunities, in particular for young people.
‘Strong Britain, Strong Retail’ secondly addresses the need for the next government to put digital skills at the forefront of its education policy. This is to make sure Britain’s next generation has the skills and knowledge relevant to digital business, as trends such as mobile commerce accelerate.
UK retail is a renowned leader in innovation and is leading the world in ecommerce. Therefore, the manifesto’s third key area, digital infrastructure, calls for developing a world-class network for growth. It follows research that twenty per cent of the country has no access to broadband, Wi-Fi or mobile phone coverage, meaning that many cannot benefit from the technology that is changing the way we shop.
UK retailers compete on a global stage. International growth is beneficial for Britain but growth is still hindered by complexity and by unnecessary barriers to trade. The fourth section of the manifesto calls for the government to stay in the EU, but to work with the European Council and other EU countries to improve the business environment for UK retailers.
The fifth and final section of the manifesto calls for an urgent reform on business rates. Whilst the Chancellor’s recent commitment to looking into reform is welcomed, urgent action is called for on an unfair and outdated system.
These themes and issues will be discussed at this year’s Retail Week Live, taking place on the 11th and 12th March.
A copy of the full manifesto can be found here: http://www.retail-week.com/manifesto2015
Follow the debate on Twitter: #retailweek
Notes to editors
Retail Week media contact:
Olivia Blunt or Claire Wood, Blue Rubicon:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7260 2700
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