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August

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Doom and gloom is always in the news when it comes to our High Streets, with stores and big names folding and closing.

However, Bill Grimsey, former head of Wickes, Iceland and Focus DIY, has launched his second report into the future of town centres and High Streets and has some interesting ideas about reviving it.

Speaking to the BBC he said: “Forget retail for town centres, they need to become community hubs based on health, education, entertainment, leisure and arts and crafts.”

Also Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, has called for a two-year freeze on business rates.

She said: The retail industry, the UK’s largest private sector employer, makes up five per cent of the economy and pays nearly 25 per cent of the overall business rates bill, over £7 billion per year. This is a disproportionate burden and is leading to decisions to close stores, while at the same time getting in the way of the modernisation and reinvention of Britain’s high streets.

“The current business rates system is not fit for purpose. It is a 20th century answer to a 21st century problem. Retail shoulders far more than its fair share, and the rates bill is leading to store closures and getting in the way of reinvention of our high streets. We’re calling on government to freeze business rates until the 2021 revaluation to relieve the burden of this unfair tax on retail businesses and allow time for dialogue about the wholesale modernisation of business taxation.”

Hopefully some of these ideas will help out the High Street.

Enjoy this month’s issue of Craft Business.

August
 

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