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BRC urges government to reform tax system as retail job numbers fall again

The British Retail Consortium has responded to the latest ONS retail jobs figures for Q2 2019.

Dr Liliana Danila, Economist at the British Retail Consortium, said, “Despite 463,000 jobs being added to the UK economy as a whole in Q2 2019 compared to a year ago (using 4Q averages), the retail industry instead saw a decline of 57,000 jobs, making it the fifth consecutive quarter of decline for retail employment.

“This trend in retail employment is a result of changing shopping habits, weak consumer demand and rising costs for the industry. But while there are fewer jobs overall in retail, the technological revolution has also meant that new roles are being created in fields such as AI, digital marketing and data science.'

Danila continued, “Retail remains the largest private sector employer in the UK, so it is vital that Government supports the industry to make the necessary investment to adapt to changing consumer trends.

'Retail continues to play a crucial role to the UK economy, providing job opportunities across the whole of the UK, including less well-off areas, offering millions of people local jobs and flexible hours.

“The business rate system holds back investment, reduces productivity and increases regional disparities. Currently, retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business taxes and 25% of business rates – it is simply unsustainable.'

Danila concluded, 'The Government must address the much needed reforms to this broken tax system before more jobs are lost and stores are closed.”