Labour leader Ed Miliband will today pledge to overhaul planning laws for town centres in a bid to prevent payday lenders, pawnbrokers and bookmakers from dominating the high street.
As part of Labour’s local election campaign launch, the leader of the opposition is to outline plans to give local councils powers to intervene if they feel too many businesses of the same kind are setting up in one area. According to The Independent, he will highlight Chatham, Kent, where there are 23 payday lenders within a mile of its high street.
His new strategy comes a month after it was revealed that payday lenders and cheque-cashing businesses were the fastest-growing multiple category throughout 2012, with a net increase of 20% on British high streets. General clothing multiples saw a decline of 8.7% in the same period.
At today’s launch in Ipswich, Miliband will argue that part of the problem is the councils’ inability to intervene when a lender moves into the premises of a former bank or building society because this is not considered a change of use.
Under his plans, “the people in our towns and cities can say: ‘No - enough is enough’,” he will say. “Too many councils are finding that they don’t have the real power to stand up for local people. But that is what politics is supposed to be about: standing up for those without power and giving power to them.
Miliband will travel to 10 towns and cities to kick start Labour’s campaign.