With the BRC forecasting the closure of up to 60,000 more stores and a loss of 900,000 jobs, the challenge ahead is tough

Vote leave or remain is the question we are being asked to consider on June 23 but who can we trust on the issue?

According to a recent survey by the IPOS MORI Reputation Centre it is not the banks, the media or the politicians, but businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, such as those the NFRN represents.

Our retailers come from a wide mix of political, social economic and ethnic backgrounds, but they things in common; they are entrepreneurs, they live and work in the community and they are passionate about serving their customers. 

So is the EU good or bad for them?

And if we are in or out how will this affect our high streets, parking or local investment? Will red tape be removed? Will business costs be reduced? Will concerns be heard regarding big business monopolies?

Who offers the best protection for our local communities, and who will improve police response times, tighten sentencing and protect retailers, their staff and their customers from shop theft, violent attacks and racial harassment?

We must not forget that while we have been in the EU thousands of small businesses have closed, as well as the recent collapses of big high street names,  which have all added to the 46,000 empty shops across the UK. So which argument will best support retailers, improve investment, protect jobs and help the industry adapt to the future? 

The challenge ahead

Changing market conditions, customer shopping habits and the growth of the internet have impacted the retail industry, and this will continue.  But with the BRC forecasting the closure of up to 60,000 more stores and a loss of 900,000 jobs, the challenge ahead is tough.

At our Annual Conference on June 13 our democratic organisation revealed the outcome of our own opinion poll, with 61% of members voting to leave EU. While there are valid opinions on both sides, our only concerns are whether the EU is good for entrepreneurs, small business and local communities?

That is why my vote is for democracy, accountability and taking back control of our own destiny.

Whichever way the vote goes our focus will remain on supporting retailers and our industry to prepare for the challenges ahead. I look forward to an exciting future.