Over the past 2 years retailers and wholesalers have been at the front line of crises – moving forward the sector wants to be a front runner in growth and upskilling the nation.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, changing consumer market expectations, and most recently the energy crisis, the UK’s retail and wholesale sector continues to demonstrate how an agile and innovative approach to business is keeping it ahead of the curve and poised for future growth. From employing a large portion of our workforce and training the workers of tomorrow, to investing in the UK and striving to decarbonise, retail and wholesale is a bedrock industry to the daily operation the UK economy and local communities.
A new CBI report Making a positive impact: The contribution of retail & wholesale to communities and the economy shows the value of the sector and argues to continue this momentum, government, communities, and retailers/wholesalers must collaborate to unlock the potential of the significant growth opportunities available.
To tackle the skills shortage, the retail sector is taking the initiative and helping those out of work get back into employment and training them with the skills needed for tomorrow. To tackle the Net Zero challenge, firms are forward thinking on how to go-green and decarbonise ahead of the national 2050 target. To unlock higher private investment, businesses are identifying new capabilities and investing in those areas which can deliver growth and positive outcomes for employees, consumers, and communities.
This report sets out key recommendations to government on how to unlock the sectors full potential to help us through the cost-of-living crisis and become a skills hub for the workforce of tomorrow, ultimately driving UK growth forward strengthening our fiscal sustainability –
Key recommendations include:
- Tax the sector fairly enabling higher investment capabilities by freezing the Uniform Business Rate and protecting businesses from inflationary increases of up to 25% over the next two-years.
- Allow businesses to spend their skills budgets on relevant training for their industry by turning the Apprenticeship Levy into a Skills Challenge Fund.
- Back businesses by continuing to help firms with rising energy costs through helping the sector to mitigate costs so they can keep costs low.
It also highlights the impact the sector is having both fiscally and socially across UK regions today.
Key sectoral highlights:
- 5.7 million people are employed by the sector including its suppliers this equates to 21.5% of all UK jobs.
- 1 in 5 constituencies highly rely on the sector and its suppliers making up over 21.5% of their GVA.
- £4 billion annually is spent on training employees which is 10% of all UK training expenditure.
- The sector contributes £352 billion to UK GVA which is 18.2% in total.
- £50 billion is contributed to taxes totalling 6.1% of all tax receipts.