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News - 17 May 2011
Mary Portas

BRC says retail support must be inclusive

Government moves to promote and protect the high street will be a positive step if they result in more support for all retailers and the town centres in which they do business. The emphasis says the British Retail Consortium must be on inclusion.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is carrying out a review of town centres – lead by reality television presenter Mary Portas (click here for full story). The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says the emphasis needs to be on support-for-all rather than penalising success. There must be no attempt to restrict consumer choice.

The BRC wants a proactive approach to managing the country’s town centres for the benefit of customers, communities, retailers and other businesses. The BRC’s high street rescue plan sets out a range of priorities including; keeping business rates down, deterring crime and having good, affordable parking.

Stephen Robertson British Retail Consortium Director General said, “High streets are the heart of local communities and economies, providing jobs and essential services but some are in trouble.

“The Government is right to recognise the future of our high streets cannot be left to chance but it must take a positive approach that supports retailers of all types and sizes.

“Independents are a vital part of an attractive retail mix but so are the big names. Ultimately it’s customers who have the power in retailing through the shopping choices they make. This review should not seek to restrict that choice by making life harder for any particular category of retailers.”

Brighton hasn’t been as badly affected by the economic downturn as many other towns. There are many reasons for this but a key one is the partnership working through a Business Improvement District. This has created a budget to keep the city alive and attractive to visitors. People come largely for the independents but the city also needs the larger businesses to help fund projects and to drive the economy. Brighton is a good example of how a balance of both large and small shops is important to any town.


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