The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) has challenged to the government to reverse the decline of UK high streets.

In its evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on the UK retail sector, the NFSP issued a stark warning to the government that supermarkets had too much influence on the planning system and that local authorities needed powers to enforce local competition limits, to ensure large retailers do not set up local monopolies.

It recommended a 100% reduction on business rates for all post offices and other essential outlets, and for the government to reintroduce grant schemes for shops deemed key for the survival of the high street.

The NFSP also called for a levy to be imposed on large retailers which would be ring-fenced for high street development and support for small retailers. It gave the example of the Northern Ireland Executive, which placed a business rate of 8.5% on large retail outlets with the revenue from this spent on promoting local services and facilities, and social and community well-being.