My new clause would give added protection, but more importantly, it would show retail staff on the frontline that we are on their side, backing them up and giving them the support they need.
The British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores have identified violence to staff as the most significant risk in the sector. The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has published research showing that there are 2,300 incidents daily among its members. The Association of Convenience Stores has said that enforcing the law on age-restricted sales is one of the biggest triggers of abuse against people working in convenience stores. The British Retail Consortium has said that age verification checks are one of the key triggers for attacks. USDAW has said that shop workers are on the frontline of helping to keep our community safe, so their role should be valued and they deserve our respect. The Co-op and police and crime commissioners such as Paddy Tipping in Nottingham have said the same.
If the Minister can agree to this new clause or take it away and look at the general principle with the National Police Chiefs Council, she will be standing shoulder to shoulder with every member of staff who is upholding the law. She will be saying that she is with them and protecting them. She should do the right thing. The 15,000 members of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents want this new clause. The British Retail Consortium, representing 70% of retail trade, wants this new clause. The Association of Convenience Stores, representing 33,000 stores, wants this. The Co-op group wants it. The Co-op party wants it, and the USDAW trade union wants it. It seems that the only person who does not is the Minister. I know that she is concerned about this issue. I ask her to reflect upon it, to support this new clause and to work with those bodies to come to a solution that protects retail staff who are enforcing the legislation that this House has enacted.