Britain is rapidly losing its label as a nation of shopkeepers as the worst economic crisis in 60 years ravages the high street.
Some 200 stores a day have shut since January and there could be 135,000 boarded up by the end of the year.
Yet while the death of Woolworths, Zavvi and other chains have grabbed the headlines, they mask a bloodbath that has gone largely unnoticed.
Small shops, the lifeblood of town centres, have been driven to the wall at an alarming rate.
Just over one in 10 of the country’s 900,000 shops is now standing empty.
Rows of empty stores do more than give a downtrodden image. They also risk attracting crime and antisocial behaviour, which is why it is vital action is taken.
The Mirror has a 10 point plan:
1 Monthly rents instead of quarterly to ease bills
2 Abolish upward-only rent reviews
3 Reduce business rates in line with falling RPI
4 Scrap plans for business rate supplement
5 Cut red tape on rate relief for small firms
6 5% VAT rates for small businesses
7 Force banks to lend to small firms again
8 Persuade insurers to reinstate credit insurance
9 Scrap high street parking charges at weekends
10 Urge landlords to let empty shops at low rents
We can’t argue against any of these. We think point 9 is a good one for the weekends, or at least make the parking charges a lot less in Ilfracombe, especially at the end of the tourist season.
But we think there should be an 11th point:
Think of high streets a whole rather than just a collection of shops. Have a strategy for the types of shops they want, try to create a niche, especially in touristy locations like Ilfracombe, try to make them more inviting places to be and encourage good design and the retention and restoration of original shop fronts with quality signage.
Thisis the link to the original article.: