Responding to the Liberal Democrat Manifesto, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“We welcome the ambition of the Liberal Democrats to address some of the major issues in our economy, including the broken business rates system and inflexible Apprenticeship Levy.”

On Business Rates:

“The Liberal Democrat’s commitment to reform the broken business rates system could help breathe new life into our town and city centres. Retailers will want to see the details of the proposed Commercial Landowner Levy to understand how it would affect tenants and landowners. And it is essential that any replacement to rates brings down the burden on retail to unlock vital investment in the economy. Given the time it would take to overhaul the business rates system, it is crucial that in the interim, the current multiplier remains frozen.

On Apprenticeships:

“The proposed Skills and Training Levy reflects the BRC calls for the Apprenticeship Levy to be reformed into a wider skills levy. Currently, retailers are unable to draw upon all the funds they are contributing to the rigid Apprenticeship Levy, so it is vital that the system is made more flexible to allow retailers to invest in pre-employment courses, short courses encompassing functional and digital skills, and other advanced courses that will address the UK’s growing skills gap.

On Crime:

“With daily stories of retail colleagues being attached or abused in their place of work, or businesses falling victims to thousands of pounds of theft, it is disappointing that the manifesto made no mention of retail crime.”