Friday, 22 February 2019

Save our high streets > parliamentary report published

Back in May last year, parliament launched an inquiry into the state and future of our high streets:
Futures Forum: Save our high streets > use them or lose them to on-line retailers

The findings have just been published: 

High streets and town centres in 2030

Report Summary

Author: Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
Date Published: 21 February 2019

This is the report summary, read the full report.
Download the Full Report [PDF 1,092KB]

— High streets and town centres today
— An intervention leading to large-scale structural change
— Central government action
— Local action
— Retailers
— Landlords
— Conclusion

High streets and town centres today

The six months over which our inquiry took place appeared to be the most turbulent for the high street so far. Barely a week went by without headlines pronouncing the 'death of the high street' or a major retailer announcing a restructuring or a fall in profits.

Video: High streets and town centres - report animation

An enormous change has taken place in retail in recent years. The traditional pattern of making purchases in physical stores, both in and out-of-town, has been profoundly disrupted by the growth of online shopping. The impact of this on our high streets and town centres in the form of store closures, persistently empty shops and declining footfall is clear for all to see.

Against this concerning backdrop, we make a set of recommendations to Government, local government, local communities, retailers and landlords to be acted on now. 


High streets and town centres in 2030 - Report Summary - Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 

There 's been plenty of comment: from the Guardian: 

Ministers urged to provide rescue package for ailing high streets

MPs committee report suggests online sales tax and more help for local authorities

Sarah Butler

Thu 21 Feb 2019 06.01 GMT

The government should consider taxing online sales, deliveries or packaging and cutting property taxes for retailers as part of a package to help revive the UK’s ailing high streets, according to an influential group of MPs.

In a report published on Thursday, the housing communities and local government committee says local authorities need more help, including extra cash, to redevelop town centres. It also suggests an overhaul of planning regulations, including scrapping rules that allow developers to turn offices into flats without special permission.

Clive Betts MP, the chair of the committee, said it was likely that “the heyday of the high street primarily as a retail hub is at an end”. However, he added: “This need not be its death knell. Local authorities must get to grips with the fact that their town centres need to change; they need to innovate, setting out a long-term strategy for renewal, reconfiguring the town centre and finding new ways of using buildings and encouraging new independent retailers.” 


Ministers urged to provide rescue package for ailing high streets | Business | The Guardian

From the Telegraph: 

However hard you try, you'll struggle to rebrand our dreary town centres

21 FEBRUARY 2019 • 7:39PM

We must make our high streets beautiful again

In this week’s plodding exercise in stating the bleedin’ obvious, a report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has addressed the need for towns to up their game or die. With one in every five pounds spent in Britain now spent online, many town centres are at crisis point.

We are all of us aware of the plight of our high streets – dreary, identikit stretches of the same brands, plate-glass-and-plastic storefronts, often shuttered at night with metal grilles, making many town centres feel like very hostile places indeed. Then there is the scourge of empty shops, and the possibility of a dozen different kinds of coffee but...

However hard you try, you'll struggle to rebrand our dreary town centres 

With more comment:
MP's Report On The High Street Falls Short - Forbes
Could a new tax on online shopping save the high street? - Chronicle Live
A UK government report says e‑retailers should pay higher taxes s- digitalcommerce360
Time is right to revive and reimagine the high street - Federation of Master Builders

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