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Tory party plans to tackle indie decline

The Conservative party has unveiled proposals for an action plan to help support independent retailers.

The proposals come as part of a report highlighting the state of UK high streets and the threats facing independent retailers.

The party estimates that 2,000 small shops close every year, and has set up a Commission to study the threats independent traders face and to identify ways to help them thrive.

The findings of the report, led by Brian Binley the Northampton South MP and Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Enterprise Group, outlines a six-point action plan which will be put forward to the party policy making process.

The six point recommendation is:

1. Play a leadership role in promoting town management partnership
initiatives that encourage local communities to work together to protect and improve the quality of their high streets.

2. Allow local councils to ensure out-of-town retail developments work
with, not against, the needs of local communities.

3. Encourage more local authorities to promote joint initiatives with
businesses and the police to tackle crime and disorder.

4. Seek to preserve the conditions in which small retailers can compete fairly.

5. Encourage councils to give stronger consideration to the impact of
parking provision and charging on high street and town centre vitality.
New options could include opening up the car parks of local authorities and other public buildings to shoppers and visitors at weekends.

6. Review business rates and rent arrangements, with a view to ensuring they are fair to independent retailers, and that more is done to promote the rate relief available to the smaller shops, much of which goes unclaimed.

To read more on this report see next weeks issue of Drapers out on July 19th.

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