“What is the Government doing for our High Streets?” asks Steve McCabe MP

Steve is calling on the Government once again to do more to back our local High Streets amid more worrying predictions about their future.

 

The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) is warning that High Streets could see 20% of shops close down within five years as more people turn to the internet for their shopping.

 

The Centre for Retail Research points out that 16 major retailers have gone into administration this year, amounting to a loss of almost 15,000 jobs. They say that as many as 316,000 workers could lose their jobs if the current trend continues.

 

This worrying prediction comes shortly after the British Retail Consortium released figures, via their Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, reporting 11.9% of town centre shops were vacant in April 2013 compared with 10.9% in January earlier this year. This figure is the highest reading since the Footfall and Vacancies Monitor began in July 2011, showing the problem is getting worse not better.

 

Steve McCabe said:

“The Government simply is not doing enough to help High Streets and hardworking business to flourish at this difficult economic time. It is not surprising that shops are closing down with unemployment at its current rate and the ever increasing cost of living coupled with stagnation in wages.

 

“My question is what is the Government doing about this? We have seen some high profile initiatives such as the Portas Pilots but these have focussed on only 12 town centres across the whole country, this just isn’t enough for such an important part of our economy.

 

“The Government also set up the High Street Innovation Fund but astonishingly they aren’t keeping track of how the money is used and it appears that only around 7% of this money has actually been spent. Meanwhile they have decided to postpone the long overdue revaluation of business rates which at their present level are too high and just don’t reflect the economic situation now. This is adding yet more pressure to High Street businesses which are losing the battle with online retailers. 

 

“In my constituency High Streets are struggling despite great initiatives by organisations like Lifford Business Association who are leading the way in High Street innovation, particularly in Stirchley. But they need more support and the Government cannot rely on local authorities to do this. It is important to our economy that the High Street is successful, so why the lack of action?”

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