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  • Writer's picturedavid Tanswell

Lower business rates the key to saving the high street, not "community hubs"

PoliticsHome outlines some imaginative approaches to occupying empty retail space, and thereby re-generating the high street. It describes "multi-functional and dynamic" spaces, promoting "greater social interaction, community activities, including libraries."

Besides being commendably well-meaning, just how realistic are these proposals? To take one example, libraries: who would fund these, and pay staff wages? Not cash-strapped local authorities, presumably, who are currently engaged in a desperate race to close libraries the length and breadth of the UK. Furthermore, how many examples of successful, well-established good practice can be seen?

Commercial Property Services (CPA) believes that a more sensible means of avoiding in 2019 a repeat of the 70,000 retail jobs lost last year, would be for firms to have their business rates re-assessed right now.

CPA's no win no fee service takes paperwork worries form the retailer's shoulders, and its 80% success rate in winning rates appeals means that the high street in 2019 needs above all to reduce its expenses , before waiting for government or local authority intervention, however well- intentioned.

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