Could the UK Retail High Street be saved?

27 October 2018

On Monday, in the budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond is set to announce a £1.5bn boost to small High Street UK retailers.

The boost is to include £900m in business rates relief for almost 500,000 small businesses, as well as a pot of £650m to rejuvenate high streets and their transport links.

For small UK Retailers in High Streets, thousands are expected to be saved, as a result of these rates relief – the treasury saying 90% of them would benefit from the package.

To qualify as a small retailer,  business premises must rate at a value of £51,000 or less.

The £650m rejuvenation fund is for the whole of the UK, dependent on individual parliaments, how cash will be used exactly. The Future High Streets Fund will be introduced over the next four years, to boost high streets and town centres, as well as reinvent them to more modern destinations.

Views of this topic are varied. The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the proposal of reducing rates for small retailers, especially after such a shocking amount of high street firms closed this year. Whereas, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, said that the whole retail sector is struggling, not just small businesses. She explained that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in the last three years, and none of the major stores – Debenhams, House of Fraser, M&S included – would have been saved from the announcement. She believes the plan does nothing to address the underlying imbalance between brick and mortar retailers and online sellers.

Will these new plans save the high street? Or will more stores face collapse? So far, we have already seen the likes of Coast, Mothercare, New Look, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Jacques Vert struggle. Is this the answer to the UK High Street Crisis?

Categories: Retail

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