High Street Blues

March 9, 2010 11:41 AM

The Liberal Democrats have unveiled plans to revitalise Britain's high streets by creating a better business environment for small businesses.

Post-recession blues have hit Britain's high streets hard this year, with one in eight shops now lying empty. Compared with last year's figures, this is up by another 25%.

"The Government's skewed planning system has resulted in an identikit high street," said local MP Tom Brake. This needs to change."

"We want to help out small businesses with big ideas."

Last December, local MP Tom Brake tabled Early Day Motion (EDM) 363 in Parliament supporting local shops in London, which called for strengthened planning laws to take into account the difficulties smaller shops face, including the use of a local competition test for new retail developments.

Policy launches have been raising eyebrows rather than hopes lately, with the electorate expecting austere times ahead. The Liberal Democrats are hoping that local entrepreneurs will grasp the possibility afforded to them by recession-era rents.

But with lending at an all-time low, the Lib Dems' plan includes a proposal to set up 'regional stock exchanges' to provide cheap cash for businesses.

The report entitled "Vibrant Local High Streets" also encourages development of a PostBank and splitting the Post Office from the Royal Mail, so it can develop new business.

Tom's EDM was tabled in early December and 33 other MPs have now signed it showing their support for the issue.

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