The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) has provided authoritative research and analysis of the retail and service sectors for twenty-one years in Britain, Europe and North America and is completely independent, not funded by the retail sector or suppliers.
In an article on its website, a ‘recalibration of policy’ is advocated.
Themes relevant today:
- Create a comprehensive industrial strategy, based on local needs and using local knowledge.
- Replace imports and create the vital supply chains needed by British business.
- Build housing, potentially a provider of 1mn new jobs and a swift way of improving the living standards and opportunities.
- Increase the focus on learning science, maths, technical subjects and foreign languages;
- Abandon the current emphasis on university as the only useful goal for young people;
- Increase vocational training, retraining and part-time study for adults.
- Renew concern for manufacturing industry and jobs rather than focussing only on retail, service industries, banking and the City of London.
- Legislate for government permission to be required before a significant UK business is bought by a foreign company.
Localisers would find some common ground here.
CRR’s retail recommendations:
- A level playing field where online businesses face the same levels of corporation tax and property tax as does retailing through stores.
- Higher wages for retail workers and better jobs, which will probably mean fewer jobs, more automation and perhaps fewer stores.
- Reform of Insolvency laws to ensure that creditors, employees and pensioners are better served than they are at present by legislation designed to keep failing companies alive.
Retail plays an essential role in a localised supply chain of food and other goods; ‘walkable’ retail builds social inclusion and reduces the need for the car; social capital and local multiplier are stronger in a town centre full of independent shops, and local distinctiveness is another benefit”.