Calls to cut business rates to save the High Street

Newspapers, including the Times, have reported on suggestions that the Government could help to revive high streets by providing funding that encourages landlords to convert empty shops into homes, offices or restaurants

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP (Con), British BIDS, an organisation focused on Business Improvement Districts, said that a Government contribution of £2.5 million would help to redevelop 100 buildings and give incentives for further investment from landlords.

Clothes retailer Next has also called for business rates for high street retail stores to be cut by 35 per cent, warning  that unless the Government sets rates at a level that is ‘fair’, shops will have to close unnecessarily.

This comes as Labour has published analysis of Office for National Statistics data revealing the places where high streets are most at risk of being ‘hollowed out’ by the collapse of hospitality, leisure, retail and tourism businesses during the pandemic.

The Isles of Scilly comes top of the list with 44.4 per cent of the local economy reliant on such businesses, followed by Torbay with 20.3 per cent, Cornwall with 20.2 per cent and the Isle of Wight with 20.2 per cent.

Elsewhere, new research published in About Manchester has also revealed that 66 per cent of the public in England would welcome vaccination passports if it meant keeping their local high street in business.

The statistics follow announcements from Government that vaccine passports would not be required on the high street, leaving the future uncertain for businesses as the Prime Minister is set to announce his ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ on Monday 22nd February.

Full articles:

The Times - Funds idea to revive ailing high streets

The BBC - Slash business rates to save High Street, says Next boss

About Manchester - Public rally behind vaccine passports to save their local high streets


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