High streets at risk of being ‘hollowed out’ without continued support – Labour

High streets at risk of being ‘hollowed out’ without continued support – Labour
Labour wants the reduced rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors to continue and is calling for businesses to be given greater flexibility to manage debt, including using student loan-style arrangements.
// Labour’s Ed Miliband urges ministers to extend the current Covid tax relief to avoid creating a host of ghost towns
// Tourist hotspots reliant on retail are in danger of seeing their high streets “hollowed out”, he warns
// Labour also calls for extension of the business rates holiday for at least another six months

Tourist hotspots reliant on the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors are in danger of seeing their high streets “hollowed out” if Covid support is scaled back, Labour has warned.

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband has urged ministers to extend the current tax relief available to avoid England’s third lockdown from creating a host of ghost towns.

The party is warning of devastation in areas such as the Isles of Scilly, where Labour calculates that as much as 44 per cent of businesses rely on visitor, retail and hospitality trade.


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According to Labour analysis of ONS data, a fifth of businesses are in the same position across the rest of Cornwall, in Devon’s Torbay and in the Isle of Wight, while 17 per cent of those in Brighton and Blackpool are also retail, tourism or hospitality reliant.

Labour is urging the government to confirm it will extend the 100 per cent business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for at least another six months.

The opposition party also wants the reduced rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors to continue and is calling for businesses to be given greater flexibility to manage debt, including using student loan-style arrangements.

The reduced VAT rate is set to expire on March 31, when it will return to 20 per cent.

“We are facing a national economic crisis, but it’s clear that if high street businesses like restaurants, hotels, shops and salons go bust the impact will be felt much more deeply by communities in certain parts of the country,” Milliband said.

“It’s striking that before Covid these places, from Cornwall to Cumbria, were bustling with tourism and trade. Businesses were supported by visitors and local people – and they will be again when our economy can open up.

“Standing by and letting these businesses collapse with the vaccine rollout making huge progress and recovery in sight would be absolutely devastating for business owners and employees who have done the right thing by shutting to help tackle the virus.

“The Government must stand up for local high streets and abandon the sink or swim approach. They must urgently confirm they will extend business rates relief to give struggling businesses the breathing room they need.

“We cannot allow these places to be hollowed out.”

with PA Wires

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2 COMMENTS

  1. All of this is true and the government know this as well.
    It is not just the government. Local councils need to not hike parking in city and town centres when less choice and people can go to places out of town or big shopping centres ( I hate the word mall) where parking is free.

    Canterbury CC putting up parking by 70p per hour when a lot less shops and at least 30 closed shops now including 10 in the Whitefriar’s section.

    Blue Badge being reduced. Canterbury in danger of not being able to compete with WWC which offers local shopping but free parking or Bluewater which offers free parking and a lot more shops.

    Business Rates holiday needs extending by 6 months with statute and consultation to reform this to based on turnover of the area in 2021.

    Rents need to be on turnover and flexible leases from 6 months to 5 years.
    More needs to be done for independent retail not just for chains.

    VAT needs reducing for physical retail and restaurants and increasing for click and collect and a higher band for online.

    I ordered something online which went missing. Have been refunded but if I wanted it in the High Street I could not get it unless I go to a department store.

    Government has a lot to lose through empty shops. It’s now or never for the high street or reform of die. It cannot be put off any longer.

    • I agree. It is however too late sadly too late for some cities and towns. Hull for example has over-pedestrianised the city centre. Neither car or bus can get you to the shops, cyclists not allowed to cycle through at all! In the wind and rain, who is going to trundle through it to get to the shops when you can order online?

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