Alex has called on the Tory-led Government to back jobs and growth and take action to Save Our High Street in Stockton. Alex was responding to retail figures which showed high street shops were continuing to struggle while the Government stands by and does nothing.
Slow retail sales and the recent wave of high street failures have been exacerbated by the Government’s VAT hike and its failure to back Labour’s plan to give local people a real say over the future of their high street.
“Over 28% of shops in Stockton stand empty, while retail sales remain sluggish. The Tory-led Government has opposed Labour’s plan to cut VAT to give our high street a boost and has failed to back Labour’s call to give local people a greater say over their high street.
“We are now seeing the true cost of the Tory led government’s VAT hike with the wave of retailers going into administration, hurting consumers and jobs by choking off growth. I want the Government to take action so we can put the heart back in the high street.”
Labour is calling for the Government to implement its four point plan to Save Our High Streets;
1. Cut VAT – introduce a temporary cut in VAT from 20% to 17.5%, to give struggling retailers a boost and put £450 back into each family’s pocket.
2. Give local people the power to put the heart back into the high street. By amending the Localism Bill, Labour would give communities a real say in developing a plan for their local shops.
3. Repeat Labour’s empty shops initiative, enabling councils to pursue innovative uses for empty shops and reinvigorate high-streets, such as using vacant units for cultural, community or learning services, rather than leaving them empty. We would fund a £5 million programme as part of the £200 million allocated to regional growth from a repeat of the bank bonus tax.
4. Promote a fair playing field on the High Street by putting a competition test into the planning system.
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