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First meeting of the cross-government retail round table

Recently (9 June 2016) Business Minister Anna Soubry led the first cross-government retail roundtable with some of the top high street names.

Ms Soubry, along with Ministers from the Treasury, Department for Health and Department for Communities and Local Government met senior management from leading retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, John Lewis Partnership, B&Q and the British Retail Consortium to discuss their priorities and consider the business environment for retail.

As well as discussing the future of the British retail sector other topics included:

  • business rates
  • levelling the playing field between online only businesses and those with a high street presence
  • taking forward the obesity strategy

The group has huge influence on consumer behaviour in the UK, generating sales of £340 billion in 2015, and supported over 3 million retail jobs in the UK, up from 83,000 in 2010.

Following the meeting, Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

The first cross-government retail roundtable is an important milestone in getting some of the country’s top retailers together to discuss collectively with government how we can work better to create an environment for them to grow, create more jobs and boost our economy.

This government will keep on going further to back British businesses – cutting red tape, lowering taxes on jobs, getting more young people into work and promoting enterprise.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said:

It was a valuable to attend such a meeting with ministers across government and some of the country’s leading retailers. It gave everyone there the opportunity to directly consider issues facing the industry and their businesses with government and I was pleased with the open and constructive dialogue.

I was also encouraged that retailers saw the benefit of such a meeting and I want to thank Anna Soubry for her personal commitment to these meetings. I look forward to working more closely with her and others throughout government, given the significance of the structural change underway within retail, and getting round the table at the next government retail roundtable.


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