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BRC launches manifesto urging next government to support retail industry

Tom Bottomley
12 November 2019

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched a new manifesto entitled "A Vision for the UK Retail Industry" ahead of the forthcoming election, calling for the next government to support the retail industry.

The manifesto sets out how the next government should support the industry as it navigates a transformation driven by new technology and changing consumer behaviour.

Heading the agenda is the relief of the business rates burden by scrapping "downward transition", which takes £1.3 billion from retailers every five years. Money that should be invested in growth, skills and innovation. The manifesto also calls for reform of the Apprenticeship Levy to allow greater flexibility to spend on any form of accredited training.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at 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.”

The retail industry pays its way, generating £17 billion in business taxes and driving 5.1% productivity growth across the industry, compared to just 0.5% in the UK as a whole. The industry is the largest private sector employer, with three million people directly employed in retail, and many more reliant on the industry.

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