MPs have called on business secretary Alok Sharma to announce what support will be given to the high street following a “dark week” for the retail sector, which has seen more than 25,000 jobs put at risk.
Darren Jones MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) Committee, asked for detail on the government’s plans to address the impact of large-scale retail failure, following the collapse of both Arcadia and Debenhams this week.
In a letter to Sharma, the committee has pressed for information on whether ministers will introduce specific support for the retail sector and those losing their jobs.
Jones said: “It has been a dark week for bricks and mortar retail in the UK.
“While many will point to issues relating to the management record and business models at Arcadia and at Debenhams, there is no doubt that Covid-19 has hit the high-street hard and, sadly, looks likely to bring job losses and store closures to many communities across the country.
“I hope the Secretary of State will come forward with more detail on the support the Government will provide to the retail sector.”
He said the government “should be doing more” to find a solution to commercial rent debts and support for small businesses within the retail supply chain.
The letter also called for Sharma to set up a Retail Taskforce with tenants, landlords, banks, supply chain businesses and ministers “to find solutions before more damage is caused”.
The committee has asked what analysis the government has done on the impact on the workforce of major retail business failure, including on female workers, part-time staff, and low-paid workers.