MPs launch inquiry into the future of England's high streets

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MPs have launched an inquiry into the future of England’s high streets and town centres.

The cross-party Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee’s inquiry will examine the future role of the high street in contributing to the local economy and the health, cohesion and cultural life of the local community.

It will also look at how local areas are planning for the future of their high streets and town centres and creating the conditions to sustain them in the coming years.

Chair of the committee Clive Betts MP said: “Our high streets and town centres have an important social, civic and cultural place in our society. But, many of our high streets are now struggling, facing a range of challenges including the threat posed by online retailers. Indeed, changing trends and behaviours in recent decades – driven by a range of economic, demographic, social and technological factors – have affected the prosperity and vibrancy of our high streets.

“High streets and town centres retain an important place in our society but what do we want them to look like in 2030 and what actions do we need from local and central government to ensure their longevity?”

The committee said the inquiry was likely to examine the legacy of the government’s previous work on the high street, including the Portas Pilots, the Future High Streets Forum and the Great British High Street.

Welcoming the inquiry, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “This is a timely inquiry because high streets and the businesses trading in these areas are experiencing significant change.

“There can be a positive future for high streets and local parades, but they will need support from central and local government to reduce operating costs and ensure planning and taxation policy help them to adapt to meet the needs of the modern consumer.”

The ACS is part of the government’s Future High Streets Forum, as well as being involved in the new Retail Sector Council launched by retail minister Andrew Griffiths MP in March of this year.

The deadline for written submissions to the inquiry is 22 June 2018. Send a submission here.

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