// Labour promises to act to prevent the sell-off of retail space for low cost housing
// If in power, the party will empower councils to fill empty shops & establish a high streets “fightback fund” to help retailers recover
Labour is promising to scrap new planning laws in a drive to breathe fresh life into Britain’s Covid-ravaged high streets.
Campaigning in Birmingham ahead of the local elections in May, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds is expected to announce that the Labour government would act to prevent the sell-off of retail space for low cost housing.
She will say that, in power, the party would empower councils to fill empty shops and establish a high streets “fightback fund” to help businesses get back on their feet following the pandemic.
- High streets & coastal towns to get £56m boost ahead of summer
- Residential developments could harm high streets, lobby groups warn
- Plan for vacant shop-to-residential conversions “will not save our high streets”
In the 10 years to the start of the outbreak, Dodds will say that the West Midlands alone had lost 1000 shops while across the UK as a whole there had been a fall of 7000.
She will also call on the government to take action to “level the playing field” between traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers and the online tech giants.
In addition, she is expected to criticise the government’s “economically illiterate” plans for a real-terms pay cut for public sector workers while preparing to push through a “massive” council tax hike and cut social security.
Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling said the government had provided £35 billion to protect and support communities and businesses through the pandemic.
“While Labour are playing politics at every turn, this Conservative Government is taking the action needed for our high streets to adapt and succeed both now and in the future,” she said.
with PA Wires