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Town centres minister and Government urged to respond to Portas review

Rochdale Labour MP Simon Danczuk has written to minister for housing Grant Shapps to ask him to speed up the Government’s response to Mary Portas’ high street review, which is due in spring.

Housing minister Shapps was allocated a town centre remit in December with responsibility for implementing Mary Portas’ recommendations for reviving the UK’s ailing high street. The Government is due to respond to the recommendations in spring.

However, the situation has become urgent given that retailers including D2 Jeans, La Senza and Barratts have fallen into, or are about to fall into, administration over the last month alone. Other fashion retailers, such as Peacocks, meanwhile, are suffering under the weight of spiraling loan liabilities and others like Arcadia, are planning significant store closures.

Danzcuk states in his letter:

“In light of this worrying picture and the concerns raised by the British Retail Consortium for the sector in 2012, I hope you will review your timetable and take action immediately in order to help inject some confidence into the high street and give retailers clarity of policy direction.

“Plans to respond to the Portas Review in spring while ignoring a winter of retail insolvencies shows staggering complacency and remoteness from the reality on the high street.

“Making the high street an immediate priority and publishing the Government response to the Portas Review straight away would be a good start.”

In December, Danczuk raised, in Parliament, the issue of indies facing a credit crisis because of changes to payment terms caused by withdrawal of brands’ credit insurance.

Chancellor George Osborne said he would listen to proposals regarding credit help for small businesses and welcomed proposals on credit schemes for smaller businesses, saying the Government was looking at “other things that might work within the envelope”.

Danczuk has been looking to meet key retail players for further discussion on solutions to the indie credit crisis. He told Drapers at the time: “This is such an important issue. It’s such an important sector for the economy and in terms of jobs for young people.”

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