From the blog
High Street Recovery Increases The Need For Long Term Action
19th September 2014
We have more news of the strength of the economic recovery in the UK. Pleasingly, rx it is stronger than many of our competitors are evidencing and this bodes well for the future.
Sustained recovery comes when businesses start to invest again, medstore particularly in new plant, machinery and employees. In return we, as consumers, regain confidence and start to spend money, believing that our jobs are a little safer, our homes are going up in value again and even our pensions are increasing.
There is an argument to suggest that the upturn is benefiting some, whereas others are being left behind, but I will leave that to the politicians. For my part, as a representative of business, all that I would suggest is that the economy is getting noticeably better for business.
The High Street is proving to be the biggest beneficiary. Retailers are generally enjoying their best time for many years and vacancies are falling. Meanwhile, property owners have confidence to invest again.
But, if we allow ourselves to believe that the High Street is safe forever again, it could drag us back into recession at some future time.
What is needed is a new approach to incentivising businesses to take space on our High Streets rather than trading on the internet or in out of town warehouses.
Any government after May 2015 must review the system of business rates, a tax that is a disincentive to occupying premises and encourages a move to cheaper out of town locations or onto the internet.
In-town car parking charges must be reduced and local authorities must be convinced not to view them as a cash-cow.
Traditional leasing and lending techniques must be relaxed to allow for more flexibility, including returns for landlords based on the success of their tenants rather than the hypothetical value of their property.
And businesses must be given more control over their trading environments. It is crazy that council tax payers vote in local councillors, but business rates payers have no say in local policy or the uses that exist around them on the High Street.
Whilst we recover from the last recession, let’s start to future-proof ourselves against any future downturn.