If the UK government wants to level up it should act to level the playing field between the High Street and the Internet, says the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).
The comment comes in a statement from Bira today in response to the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper, published earlier this week.
Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “The government has announced its vision for levelling up and identified 12 ‘missions’ as areas of focus for this ambitious plan. It is hard to disagree with the intentions of this plan but we do need to see more detail to better understand how it will work in practice.
“We welcome the commitment to improving transport infrastructure because access to town and cities, and High Streets in general is very important. There is a further commitment to creating ‘pride in place’, and in this respect we urge the government to recognise that independent retail plays an increasingly important role. Indie retailers support communities, invest in the local economy and are integral to creating a vibrant ‘place’ and something to be proud of.
“The ambition for this Government is to level up the UK. From a business perspective there is one easy thing to do, and that is to level the playing field between high streets and the internet by reducing busing business rates. Research from last year showed that business rates have a disproportionate impact on businesses in the North of the UK, reducing investment and job opportunities. Incentivise business, especially independent businesses, and there is no doubt that local economies and communities will see the difference.”