Labour has pledged to ban ATM charges under a five-point emergency plan to save the UK’s high streets.

Speaking at the Labour Conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey also committed to a fundamental review of the business rates system, including introducing annual revaluations of rates and ensuring a fair appeals system to “bring it into the 21st century”.

Other pledges include establishing a register of landlords of empty shops in each local authority, and stopping Post Office and bank branch closures.

Free public wi-fi would be introduced in town centres and people under 25 would be entitled to free bus travel, Long-Bailey added.

“The move to online retail and the changing nature of the way we shop doesn’t need to mean empty high streets and job losses. It can mean a vibrant community space, with local independent shops, cafes and restaurants,” she said.

“But that will require governmental action to reinvigorate our high streets.”

Responding to the plan, British Retail Consortium director of business & regulation, Tom Ironside, said: “The retail industry is going through a period of unprecedented change. Taking action to fix a broken and outdated business rates system is essential if the country’s largest private sector employer is to work towards a positive future.” 

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