David Cameron and Nick Clegg have today called on retail guru Mary Portas to identify what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.
“The high street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive,” comments Cameron.
The PM says he’s “confident” that Mary Portas’s straight-talking, no-nonsense approach will help to “bring back the bustle” to UK high streets.
“Empty high streets are a blight on the local economy,” adds Deputy PM Nick Clegg. “Vacant shops are also a wasted opportunity with far-reaching consequences. When goods and services start to disappear, our sense of community can be weakened and undermined. It is vital therefore that we examine what steps can be taken to revitalise and reinvigorate high-street shopping centres across the country.”
Mary Portas’ report will:
* Address the problem of vacant shops
* Adopt new business models for the high street that fit the needs of the modern shopper
* Prevent the proliferation of “clone towns”
* Increase the number of small and independent retailers doing business in local town centres
Mary Portas will present the review to Cameron, Clegg and Edward Davey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for BIS) by autumn 2011. We’ll keep you posted.