THE leader of Swindon Borough Council will ask the town’s two MPs to support a bill giving greater support to shop workers.

Labour group deputy leader Steve Allsopp asked David Renard to express the authority’s backing for the bill, which would make attacking a shop worker a more serious offence than a common assault. His motion passed unanimously at a meeting on Thursday night.

Coun Allsopp said: “What the last few months have shown us is that shopworkers, particularly those in food retail are key workers.

“We have relied on them to keep the food network going, not only those in the large multiples but the independent local convenience stores.”

Coun Allsopp cited evidence provided to the government by shopworkers’ unions USDAW, the British Retail Consortium and the Co-operative movement about attacks on shop staff. One victim had a hypodermic syringe held to their throat while an assailant demanded they open the till.

Deputy council leader Russell Holland, who is a barrister, threw his weight behind the idea.

He said: “I have professionally supported some victims of such assaults and they are horrific.”

Coun Renard asked if the motion could be amended to request that he, rather than chief executive Susie Kemp, write to Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson.

Coun Allsopp was glad to accept the amendment.