‘Portas Pilot’ towns see 1000 store closures as Mary Portas attacks business rates

Mary portas

A government-backed programme spearheaded by Mary Portas has failed to stop the decline of high streets in 12 UK towns.

According to The Telegraph, the towns which received a portion of the £1.2 million grant in 2012 have lost nearly 1000 shops.

The closures were in line with the rest of the country, according to the Local Data Company, seeing around one in five stores close their shutters.

Portas has since accused the government of using her “Save the High Street” campaign as a PR tool, alluding to efforts being made to support her efforts when no policies had been created.

“It feels like there was this great splash from government, that they were getting behind businesses. But they can’t say that and then treble rates – they need to think about the effects on business,” she told The Telegraph.

“We need real policy change. Business needs to be at the heart of planning as the government decides what kind of country we want to live in because the high street is the heart of every community. With rising wages and increased import costs rates is the one area that can be sorted out by government.”

She told the BBC’s You And Yours programme that she had hoped her campaign would highlight the real issues facing UK town centres prompting policy change from the government, but that nothing came of her efforts.

The “Portas Pilot” towns included in the scheme saw a 17 per cent drop in stores over the last five years, and this number is expected to rise to 22 per cent through 2018.

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