Retailers warn politicians red tape is stifling social mobility

Julian Harris
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RETAILERS last night urged politicians in Westminster to avoid stifling the work opportunities it offers to people from less privileged backgrounds.

On the evening that the British Retail Consortium (BRC) held its annual parliamentary reception, the group called on government to cut back on red tape.

Retail is “one of the most meritocratic sectors of the economy”, the BRC says, providing flexible work to at least one person in every one in eight British households.

“In retail, career progression is based on aptitude and attitude. You really can climb from shop floor to boardroom,” commented Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s director general.

“Retailers are uniquely placed to promote social mobility and help the government deliver on its growth, jobs and skills priorities, but this shouldn't be taken for granted.”

Shops and other retailers provide jobs to 40 per cent of 16 to 19 year olds, the BRC says, investing £1,275 on training per employee every year. It added that one in six people without qualifications work in retail, while 13 per cent of the sector’s staff have a disability.

“We must not let our investment in people be stifled by allowing red tape to get in the way,” Dickinson added.

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