Blog by Helen Dickinson OBE, CEO 

As we wait for the Chancellor to announce details of the Employment Support Package, which is expected later today, we have been doing all we can to make sure any measures announced support colleagues working in retail. 

These are unprecedented times and retailers are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances to keep the nation fed and to ensure that everyone, including the elderly and vulnerable, get the supplies they need. 

Retail makes up the largest private sector workforce in the United Kingdom and retail workers truly are amongst the unsung heroes who continue to go to work to provide a service during this crisis. It is in this spirt that we urge the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to acknowledge the importance of the industry and bring forward measures that will provide the right support for our colleagues. 

From buyers to check-out staff and from delivery drivers to warehouses, all retail workers are equally important in maintaining the flow of goods. So, where colleagues are unable to work, it is essential that Government stands by these workers and provides financial support to see them through this difficult time, but also to ensure that the system can continue to operate. 

Things are moving at pace and scale and it is vital that industry has clarity from Government of any employment announcements so they can plan ahead. With all the uncertainty and anxiety naturally being felt by many retail colleagues, time is of the essence and Government needs to move quickly so that industry workers can access support as soon as they may need it. 

As we all pull together to protect our employees, this is a key moment for the Prime Minister to show he really is leading a ‘People’s Government’, by giving the people who work in retail the support they need and deserve. We urge the Government to honour their pledge to stand with the workers of this country by starting with retail workers.