Yesterday I was delighted to attend the Westminster Business Forum conference, "The UK retail sector and the future of the high street - costs and taxation, investment and planning, and policy priorities for the new parliament", along with MPs, business leaders, civil servants and other property professionals.
We heard from various high profile speakers, including Helen Dickinson (Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium), Mark Robinson (ex President of Revo, and Co-founder of Ellandi) and Steve Murrells (CEO, The Co-operative Group).
There were wide-ranging discussions, including the role of government in the future of retail, the need for collaboration between councils, businesses and communities, and the environmental impact of retail.
Steve Murrells's keynote speech covered the post-Brexit trade negotiations, strengthening communities, and the need for a combined approach to tackle environmental issues.
“The climate emergency is upon us but there’s no need to be apocalyptic. We should instead be optimistic, providing we take bold and collective action. This issue is too big for grandstanding: co-operation rather than competition must be the way forwards. “For the retail sector, that means pooling our knowledge and working together to deliver a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. No one retailer should carry the burden to make this happen, and the government needs to create a level playing field for business, through targets and legislation to back this up.”