The Conservatives have committed to reintroducing certain legislation that was interrupted by the dissolution of Parliament, including proposed changes to the Criminal Justice Bill.

Rishi Sunak

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has introduced the Conservative manifesto ahead of the election

Changes to the Bill include introducing a separate offence for assaulting retail workers.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak also said he would push ahead with reintroducing the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which would introduce a generational ban on tobacco alongside further restrictions on vaping products.

In addition, the Conservatives have made a proposal to increase the business rates multiplier on distribution warehouses that support online shopping over time.

The Tory manifesto also featured a pledge to change planning laws to support places to bring back local market days and regenerate defunct shopping centres.

British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson said: “After 14 years in government, the Conservative party is aware of the major issues facing the retail industry.

“Unfortunately, this manifesto fails to take the bull by the horns, leaving many ongoing challenges, from business rates to apprenticeships, without clear solutions.

“On a brighter note, the Conservatives’ commitment to tackling retail crime remains firm in the manifesto, with a pledge to toughen sentences for those who assault retail workers.

“The Conservative manifesto highlights the need for a tax system that incentivises business to invest yet does little to bring this about for the retail industry.

“With business rates now at a record high of 54.6p in the pound, the Conservative promise to ‘continue to ease the burden of business rates’ for businesses on the high street will ring hollow to many retailers.

“Despite previous promises to reform the broken business rates system, we continue to see empty shops around the country that have fallen prey to sky-high rates.

“And while the full details of the proposals to offset high street business rates by raising rates for warehousing would need to be seen, it is hard to see it as a viable solution given the wide range of retailers that sell goods online as well as from stores.

“The Conservatives have listened to the concerns of the retail industry and we support the calls for new measures against those who assault retail workers.

“We hope this will take the form of the standalone offence that was part of the Criminal Justice Bill that unfortunately fell when the election was announced.”