William Eichler 09 October 2023

High street facing ‘terminal decline’, union warns

High street facing ‘terminal decline’, union warns image
Image: Zeynep Demir Aslim / Shutterstock.com.

The high street may be facing a ‘terminal decline’ as more than 420,000 traditional retail jobs have been lost since 2010, the union GMB has warned.

A new analysis by the union has estimated that 420,242 brick-and-mortar retail jobs have disappeared since 2010 – a decline of 28.4%.

The figures have been released as the last Wilko stores close their doors for the final time, costing 12,500 jobs.

Delegates at the Labour Party Conference, which started yesterday in Liverpool, will debate a GMB motion which calls for the UK’s ‘archaic’ system of business rates to be replaced.

Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, said: ‘High street retail is at the heart of our communities, but customers and workers are denied a fair deal. These shocking figures are a wakeup call that Wilko was not the first, and it will not be the last.

‘Better support for communities and workers who face redundancy is urgently needed. That’s why GMB is calling on the Labour Party to enact its pledge to replace the business rates system, strengthen redundancy rights, and establish minimum ownership requirements for critical national retailers. Otherwise, the high street faces terminal decline.’

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