Comment: Higher pay could bite back

Comment: Higher pay could bite back

A Facebook post doing the rounds claims every Tesco store in the UK is subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £139,000 a year due to low pay, meaning their staff have to claim in-work benefits.

The post highlights the imbalance between the government support that large corporations are able to access and the lack of support for the UK’s army of small shopkeepers.

A potential threat to the future of many small shopkeepers was highlighted this week by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) which warned of the continuing decline of the UK’s high streets.

Ironically, it picked out a government policy – the new National Living Wage – that will force corporations such as Tesco to raise wages as one of the key challenges retailers now face.

If you work in a high street agency, I’m sure you’re only too well aware of the issues faced by traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers these days.

The BRC analysis does not cover travel retail, but many of the trends its Retail 2020 report picks out, such as rising costs and online competition, will be familiar to you.

There is no reason to assume travel retail will be immune to the threats facing the high street as a whole.

And even if our sector is not as exposed as others, it will suffer indirectly if Britain’s high streets see long-term decline.

So it is vital agents embrace change to secure their future – a key message of last week’s Travel Technology Europe show at London’s Olympia.

Moves to improve pay levels should be welcomed, but not at the expense of firms which create work in the first place.


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