And finally…Scots friendliest in the UK to retail and hospitality workers

Scottish people are the friendliest in the UK towards retail and hospitality staff, according to new research from business insurer NFU Mutual.

The firm found that 65 per cent of Scottish consumers said that they are always friendly to staff as they have a hard time - the highest percentage out of all UK regions.

A spike in violent attacks upon staff in retail published by The British Retail Consortium’s latest Retail Crime Survey has led the insurer to explore the impact of retail violence.

The research also found that over half of Scottish consumers (52 per cent) have witnessed some form of abuse towards retail staff in the past three years, ranging from customers belittling or being patronising, cursing and shouting, to physical attacks upon employees.

More than four out of five Scottish (82 per cent) consumers expect retail staff to have the necessary training to effectively manage a verbally or physically abusive customer.

Despite this, nearly half (45 per cent) of the customer-facing UK businesses which were also surveyed said that they are not actively taking any measures to protect their staff. If anything, the measures that they take include having a policy statement, CCTV or always doubling up on staff.

Frank Woods, retail specialist at insurer NFU Mutual, said: “Employers’ Liability and Public Liability claims remain to be the highest cost to us as a commercial insurer and unfortunately while most is accidental damage, the sad fact is that some is down to threatening behaviour or even assault. It’s not only the physical abuse that employees receive but also the emotional cost of everyday discourtesy.

“Many retail staff in Scotland are young people taking their first steps into the working world, often doing so for minimum wage, and these sorts of encounters can crush their enthusiasm to pursue a career in retail which is a particular threat while Brexit approaches and questions about recruiting talent remain unanswered. No-one deserves to be spoken to rudely or feel threatened at work, no matter their profession.”

The NFU Mutual study also found that 80 per cent of Scottish consumers would either physically or verbally intervene if a member of staff was being attacked by another customer. Men and women are almost equally likely to verbally intervene if a customer is being rude to a member of staff (39 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women).

The vast majority of Scottish consumers (91 per cent) agree with potential legislation changes that would provide better protection for retail workers. Across the UK those in Scotland are most likely to agree, followed by the East of England and the South West.