Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, has written to the Chancellor to urge a long term approach to support retail businesses after the temporary support schemes end later in summer.
In the light of the announcement that John Lewis is considering the closure of their York shop, along with other retail brands and some smaller traders closing their doors for good, Councillor Waller is calling for the ongoing business rates review to deliver real reform to support retail businesses across the city. This would include reforms that would reflect local economic realities, simplify the system, incentivise local growth and level the playing field between bricks and mortar and online businesses.
Following John Lewis store closure plan announcement, Councillor Waller is also continuing to discuss the future of the local store, and has written to the Chair of the John Lewis Partnership to urge the partnership to reconsider the plans and support the more than 200 local jobs at risk.
Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“With shopping habits changing and our high streets struggling in the light of major brands downsizing their physical operations, there must be a comprehensive plan put in place to support the retail sector and the livelihoods of the thousands of residents employed in retail.
“It is vital that the ongoing business rates review delivers real reform to what currently is an outdated and unfair system. When temporary relief ends, the Government must be ready with a new regime which best future-proofs the system as our economy continues to evolve.
“The key to ensuring that our retailers are supported is a wholesale re-think of the business rates system and the abolition of barriers to entry into the retail market for new businesses.
“Whilst we continue to work with partners to support our local traders, it’s clear that major changes in retail habits are bringing about the need for Government to take a more comprehensive and long term approach to support the sector and our High Streets.”