In an open letter, CEO of Marks & Spencer, Stuart Machin, has called on the government to make more “decisive, practical action” in a bid to support the growth of the economy.
His words come ahead of the chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, which is set to be unveiled Wednesday.
Machin has requested that three key areas – skills, net-zero and regulation – come into play, stating that the prime minister’s “talk needs to become action” with a renewed focus on learning and the skills needed to build up the economy.
He further noted that there were both drawbacks and opportunities when it came to the mass upskilling of retail workers, leading him to suggest re-scoping the Apprenticeship Levy into a broader skills fund as one of the potential adjustments.
According to Machin, the current regime only makes use of 34 percent of the retailer’s annual 5.4 million pound contribution to the Levy, however he said that entrusting employers to decide how it is spent could help grow training and get people into the labour market.
Additionally, Machin also stated that Marks & Spencer was in support of the Skidmore Review, which would see the roll out of charging points for e-vehicles and the development of on-shore recycling for key materials.
One of his final points was that of asking for “no further legislative burden acting as a drag on businesses from unnecessary taxes or regulation”. Machin noted that there needed to be a strategic overview of legislation and its implementation, with the perspective of pausing regulation that could add further costs to the retail sector.