The Queen’s speech was primarily focused on Brexit, which BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said would be “the retail industry’s biggest priority”.
The speech, setting out Government priorities, put the weight of its focus on negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU. Nine of the 27 bills related to Brexit.
According to Dickinson the two most important priorities for retailers and consumers would be trade and immigration regulations, both included in the speech.
She said: “Retailers will be encouraged that the Government is seeking to reach out to business.
A consumers’ Brexit
“The retail industry’s biggest priority is to work alongside the Government to secure a fair Brexit for consumers,” said Dickinson.
“This means ensuring that ordinary shoppers aren’t hit with the cost of unwanted new tariffs and the UK is able to build new trading relationships with the rest of the world in the long term.
“In particular, we will seek to work with the Government on the new trade bill, which will help in the development of international trade relationships, and the immigration bill.
“Employers throughout retail must be able to secure their current workforce and fill vacancies in the future.
“To do this, the government must secure the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK at the earliest possible opportunity.”
She added that while retailers had adapted to the introduction of the living wage, any further mandated salary increases “must be moderate, taking into account broader economic conditions”.
“It is essential the government puts in place a business rates system that does not pit online against offline or large against small”
Dickinson also highlighted that while business rates had not been addressed, reform was urgently required for the long-term health of the sector.
“At the last general election, all three political parties committed to fixing the broken business rates system and this has the strong support of the industry,” she said.
“It is essential the Government conducts a full review of the business rates system and puts in place a system for the 21st century that does not pit online against offline or large against small.”