Mixed messages will not help high streets
08 May 2019
Posted by: Chris Banks
UKHospitality has reacted with disappointment at the Government’s response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on high streets and town centres
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government’s stated intention to support struggling high streets, coupled with rejection of the Select Committee’s recommendations to deliver such support gives a mixed message.
“It is no secret that high streets have come under immense pressure in recent years. Hospitality businesses have evolved, weathered the storm and, in many cases flourished; but these businesses are at the front line on high streets and cannot be expected to continually work miracles as shops close and footfall dries up.
“The Select Committee report made some very valuable points, highlighting the unfair burden of business rates on high street businesses and the opportunity to redress this by using revenue raised by the Digital Services Tax. We strongly urge the Government to reconsider its dismissal of that suggestion.
“In its defence the Government has pointed to measures such as rates relief for businesses and forthcoming cash boosts for local authorities. These are useful to a degree, but if the Government doesn’t deliver wholesale, widespread support that cuts to the heart of the issue, this tinkering will not stop widespread decline on high streets around the UK.”