The Mary Portas high street review

John Walker is the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses and his recently said, “The Mary Portas’ high street review is very important in the shaping of our local communities because of its focus on the high street. The government must immediately take note of the recommendations made by the review and take action. A lack of action here with lead to out-of-town development continuing and the high street suffering as a consequence.”

The review highlights what steps the government can take in order to help businesses on the high street remain competitive with out-of-town rivals. The report focuses on bringing consumers back to the high street by making it a more attractive location shopping. The FSB has said that real change can be achieved in areas such as parking, planning and the application of business rates. It is also urged the government to consider deregulating some aspects of high-street business so trading becomes easier.

The review highlights the problem that parking in the town centre is expensive and this takes people away from shopping in the centre of town. Mr Walker commented, “Introducing free parking could go a long way to tackle this problem but it is necessary that wider reforms are put into place if we want to see real change in consumer’s attitudes towards the high Street.”

There have been calls by small businesses for reform to the business rates system and Mr Walker has backed these saying that a better system of rates would encourage more diversity in high-street stores. He concluded, “We need to create high streets that are sustainable and resilient to competition. Help in the short term will benefit these businesses for a long time.”