Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

No relief for retail in Spring Statement

Struggling high streets have been offered no reprieve in the chancellor’s Spring Statement.

Philip Hammond presented his spending plans to the House of Commons yesterday, but retail and property bodies have hit out at a lack of support for the retail industry, which faces a £186m surge in business rates next month.

BRC boss Helen Dickinson said it was “disappointing” that the Spring Statement offered no support to bricks and mortar businesses, “at a time when they are weighed down by the twin burdens of skyrocketing business rates and Brexit uncertainty”.

New West End Company chief executive Jace Tyrrell added that Hammond “missed a huge opportunity to support retailers and the nation’s high streets”.

Boots pharmacists vote to join union

Pharmacists at Boots have voted to join a trade union in a long-running dispute about union recognition.

More than 92% of thousands of Boots pharmacists who voted opted to join the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), which will now represent them on issues such as pay, hours and holiday entitlement.

Some 3,229 pharmacists backed the switch, while only 266 supported a proposal for an internal representative committee to represent them. That option had been put forward by Boots management last year as part of an anti-union strategy.

Pharmacists voted last year to stop being represented by the Boots Pharmacists’ Association, a “sweetheart union” which they argued was not independent of the company.