Retailers call for government focus on productivity

British retailers have asked for government assistance to ensure that employees reach their full potential, a move they believe will aid economic growth.


The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has submitted to Chancellor George Osborne’s Emergency Budget, calling for alterations to the system than can encourage productivity.


The industry body also suggested that existing work relating to pay and employee progression was bringing successful results, although they still believe future changes should be encouraged.


In the submission to the Chancellor, a number of goals were included so as to boost the retail sector and ensure future growth.


Among these were commitments to continue the levels of research already noted and to ensure that barriers to productivity are tackled as soon as possible.


Lost productivity can have a huge impact on sales and business operations, often impacting on the cash flow of a company.


While larger firms can often handle such issues, smaller companies can find themselves in financial difficulty and can even face the threat of insolvency in very severe situations.


The BRC also committed to growing the levels of high quality jobs and apprenticeships that are available in the sector while placing more emphasis on technology.


However, it asked for support from the Government to make it possible, by supporting skills acquisition and by inspiring people to take up more productive roles.


The possibility of tax incentives for firms to encourage higher rates of pay were also explored, with a main focus on long term sustainability and career progression.


According to the BRC, the new goals recognise the importance of workers in the sector – of which there are about three million – and the need to support them.


They also suggest that some of the barriers to growth and productivity are highly varied and complex, which could make them more difficult to overcome.


Despite this, finding sustainable solutions should help firms adopt the right approaches over time, increasing the likelihood of further growth and success.


By Phil Smith


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