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Business Secretary and Ministers hold meeting with leading retailers

Alan Hawkins, bira CEO attended a vital High Level Retail Roundtable meeting with the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Corporate Responsibility on 22 February.  Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, was also in attendance.  The main thrust of the meeting was to ensure that retail was included as a specific sector in the new government initiative “Building our Industrial Strategy”.  The 10 pillars of that initiative, at present, do not appear to specifically include retail.  Following the meeting it is hoped that retail will be firmly on the government’s agenda as a major contributor to the economy and as a significant employer.

The discussion itself was very interesting in terms of what some of the larger players are doing to reflect growth, taking on new ideas and picking up export opportunities.  It is important, however, that future Roundtable meetings ensure that all the benefits independents can bring to the marketplace are also properly recognised.  Independents are very fleet of foot and respond more quickly to customers’ requirements than their larger counterparts.  Local economies and a proper sense of place in our high streets are also vital parts of any industrial strategy.

Full press release with comments can be found on the website