The British Shops and Stores Association is calling upon the government to implement urgent action to save the UK's small retailers on the back of a Tory strategy document around small shops on the high street which is due to be unveiled today.
BSSA chief executive John Dean said he welcomed the Tories recommendations but was worried that it would be too late to implement them unless the current Labour government acted quickly.
Dean said: "We are losing independent retailers every day and cannot afford to wait until the Conservatives can implement their strategy."
Dean, who was one of the 12 Commission members to carry out the research added: "Small is not beautiful for today's retailer – whether it is endeavouring to set up a new business or merely maintain a viable one. Start up costs are draconian and effects of legislation and crime can be disproportionate, making survival of even the best run business a challenge."
Dean outlined some immediate changes the present government could take to alleviate the stresses facing independent retailers.
He said: "National government can influence the two key overheads of any retailing business – wage rates and property costs. There is a definite need to review the formula for setting the National Minimum Wage and for the threshold of Small Business Rate Relief to be raised for the single shop occupant located in the high rental zone of the high street."
The Conservative party will unveil its strategy later today but Dean said of the report: "There are many excellent initiatives, in the areas of town improvements and crime reduction, but they lack a cohesive local direction – it is hoped the proposed community hub enterprise area will address this shortfall but the risk is that a lot of people all pulling in different directions could reduce the overall benefits."
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