A leading trade union has called for an overhaul to bolster bricks-and-mortar shopping following revelations that almost 135,000 traditional retail jobs were lost during the pandemic.
Quoting figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the GMB noted there were an estimated 1.2 million sales and retail assistants, cashiers and check-out operators in the UK in 2019. By 2021 that number had dropped to just under 1,075,000, according to the latest ONS data.
“The Great British High Street is being allowed to wither and die, GMB national secretary Andy Prendergast said. “These are vital businesses that drive our economy and help our communities thrive.
“GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents – while our business rates system is archaic and no longer fit for purpose. Empty high streets and shopping centres that look like ghost towns are no good for anyone.”