Labour has called on the UK Government to save Britain’s “dying” high-streets, as new figures published by the Party reveal that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost over the last three years.
New analysis by Labour of ONS figures released on Tuesday has revealed that a staggering 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in stores across Britain since 2015, with Labour blaming poor wage growth and the Government’s handling of Brexit.
Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has urged the Government to reform the business rates system to ease the burden on traditional high streets.
She also called for a register of landlords of empty shops, to make it easier to bring boarded up shops back into use, and an inquiry into excessive car parking charges levied by private firms.
A number of major high street brands have fallen in administration or closed stores in 2018, including House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and New Look.
Research by the British Retail Consortium found that nearly a fifth of British retailers are considering cutting the number of people they employ in the next three months.
A report by PwC and the Local Data Company found 4,000 High Street shops opened last year, but the report also found that 5,800 stores were closed – a net loss of 1,800.
Currently 11.35% of shops have been left vacant, and the Local Data Company has found that 52% of former BHS stores still lie empty 2 years after the final closure.
Research by XLN last year found nine in ten people would visit high streets more often if free parking was offered. A third of respondents said expensive parking and the lack of free parking had put them off from visiting high-street stores.
Rebecca Long Bailey said: “Our high-streets are dying but the Government isn’t doing anything about it.
“Losing giants like House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer and New Look from town centres across the country is alarming.
“Our communities, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and our economy, both local and national, depend on thriving high-streets. The Tories need to take action fast, before we become a nation of ghost towns.”