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Labour focusses on "A brighter future for our high streets" - Usdaw will speak for retail workers through a new commission

Date: 19 April 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw welcomes a new independent Commission on Rebuilding Our High Streets, launched today by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds. It brings together experts from retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, as well as representatives of the trade union, local government, co-operative and social enterprise sectors.
Usdaw’s general secretary Paddy Lillis will sit on the commission, which will meet regularly over the course of the next six months to offer independent advice to the Labour Party on issues such as:
  • How the high streets of the 2020s and beyond can be supported to thrive, as great places where people can shop, socialise, meet, work and live.
  • Bringing empty commercial properties back into use for existing and new businesses.
  • Levelling the playing field between bricks and mortar businesses and online firms.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in our high streets, reflecting the needs of local communities. 
Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “The retail sector and in particular our high streets have been facing difficult economic circumstances for many years and this situation has only become worse with the pandemic.
 
“At Usdaw we know the value of our local high streets in terms of the jobs and services they provide for our local communities. We all need to look strategically at what we want our high streets to look like, how we achieve that, and how it can be made to be sustainable for the long term. That’s why the work of this commission is so important and I am pleased to speak for retail workers on it.”
 
Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “I’m delighted to be announcing the Rebuilding Our High Streets commission today and I want to thank everyone involved for agreeing to take part.
 
“Our high streets have been through a gruelling year, and Conservative changes to planning laws and their failure to reform the broken business rates system mean there are more challenges ahead.
 
“Labour is determined to deliver a brighter future for our high streets as part of our mission to make Britain the best place to grow up and grow old in.
 
“That doesn’t mean harking back to a vision of the past, but finding ways to make our town centres places we can be proud of and where communities can come together. This Commission will offer independent advice to Labour on how we achieve that.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers